The Value of Sleep for a Young Athlete
The value of sleep for a young athlete is a key aspect of success both on and off the court or field. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health, and is even more important during the maturation years. While many athletes focus on practice, training, strength building and other activities they sometimes forget the importance of rest and sleep.
Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for athletes. It is known to play a role in healthy brain functioning, emotional well-being, physical health, muscle repairs, healing from injuries, and more. This is especially true for young people who are active or are growing – or both. Read on for some information on the value of sleep for young athletes.
Repairing the Body
Athletes need to be in peak physical shape, and in order to get there, a lot of sleep is required. Muscle reparation occurs when the body is asleep, and sleep is also responsible for healing and repairing heart vessels, reducing the risk of heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight and optimal energy levels, and normal growth and development.
A teenager or young person who doesn’t get enough sleep is at risk for stunted growth, reduced muscle mass, and even problems with puberty and fertility. So find plenty of time for rest and sleep when attending Triple Threat Academy summers camps or other athletic training events.
Everyone knows that sleep deprivation leaves you feeling groggy and unfocused, and so it’s shouldn’t come as a surprise that getting a proper amount of sleep each night will help your mind to focus better and to think more clearly. For improved reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, all a teen has to do is hit the sack a little earlier and ensure that they’re getting a consistent 8-10 hours a night, depending upon age and personal need. Not only will you be able to think more clearly, learn new information quicker, and retain information better by getting enough sleep, but sleep deprivation is downright unsafe, and can make a person more prone to accidents.
Keeping Hormones in Check
Young people are already coping with a constant surge of hormones racing through their bodies, and teens are known to be moody as it is. Sleep and sleep deficiency are closely linked with hormones that control one’s mood, and not getting enough sleep is associated with suicide, depression, out of control behavior, risk-taking behavioral issues, anxiety, and general grumpiness. Teens who don’t get enough sleep often have a tough time paying attention, are irritable and angry, and struggle with a lack of motivation, which can affect their performance in the classroom, in their sports programs, and at home.
Added Importance for Athletes
For athletes and kids that are very physically active, sleep takes on an even more important role in the body. Since athletes are continually exposing their bodies to added stressors in both mental and physical ways (stress on joints and muscles from running around, stress on the mind for anxiety about an upcoming game, stress on the self for not making that shot, etc.), sleep is absolutely crucial for physical and mental health.
Teens require a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night, although many who are experiencing a growth spurt, extra stress, or are very active may require up to 11 hours. If you’re a parent of a young athlete, setting strict guidelines about when to be in bed can help your child excel in multiple aspects of their life.