Sleep : Are you getting enough to perform at optimal levels?
What if there was a supplement that could make you happier, smarter, stronger, and less likely to be injured would you take it? Of course, you would! Luckily it is free and it is called sleep.
Lack of sleep is common among teenagers because of things like smart phones, laptops, TV, and energy drinks, and only 20% of teenagers may be getting the recommended 8-10 hours of rest per night (1). Not sleeping enough has also associated with increased body weight, a recent study also found that one third of students have even reported falling asleep in school (1,2).
How does sleep relate to sports?
Starting with injuries, because you can’t even lift or perform if you’re injured. Research from the American
Academy of Pediatrics National Conference showed that teenage athletes who slept eight or more hours
per night were 68% less likely to be injured compared to athletes who regularly slept less (3).
One study on rest and athletic performance, the Stanford men’s basketball team over the course of six
weeks got as much rest as they could, with a goal of resting at least 10 hours each night (4).
Performance benefited with faster sprint times, a 9% improvement in 3pt and free throw shooting
percentage, plus an improved physical and mental sense of well being during practices and games.
A similar study was on Stanford women’s tennis team (5). Players felt better, improved sprint times,
reported less fatigue, and their serving accuracy improved by 24%! We have seen that resting more can
improve performance, but how about if we don’t get enough rest? Just after one night of resting only five
hours, there was a 30% decrease in tennis serving accuracy (6). What’s more interesting is that they were
also given caffeine while studying, but the caffeine did not prevent the decline in serving accuracy. So going
to bed late and having coffee in the morning, won’t prevent your performance from suffering!
U.S. Olympic team members are encouraged to sleep for 9-10 hours per night (7). The importance of rest
can be seen across all sports.
“Sleeping is huge in my sport. Recovery is the limiting factor, not my ability to run hard. I typically sleep about
eight to nine hours a night but then I make sure to schedule 90-minute ‘business meetings’—aka naps—into
my day for an afternoon rest.” — Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall (8)
Rest is essential for your brainhealth! Sleeping less than 6 hours per night for two weeks can result in
cognitive decline equivalent to staying up for two nights in a row. (9). Meaning you can’t tell when your lack
of sleep is even affecting you! Lack of rest signals your brain to consume more food while burning fewer
calories. Research has shown a 24% increase in hunger after sleep restriction, with an appetite for sweets
being increased the most (10). Rest has profound effects on our hormones. In healthy people, rest
restriction to 5 hours per night for as little as one week can lower testosterone levels by 10-15% (11). One way to get into a deeper sleep and help your body release growth can be achieved by using Nocturnus. It is BOTH a pre-workout drink and a bedtime supplement. We recently reformulated it to have more GH releasing properties, more fat burning capacity and increased pumps.
Now that you’re ready to sleep more, how do you do it?
1. Make sleep a priority – commit to getting enough, this could mean setting your DVR to record your
favorite shows and watching them on the weekend, etc.
2. Dim the lights at night – in bright lights your body still thinks it’s daytime. Dim the lights in your house to
start feeling tired earlier.
3. Dim the screens – turn down the brightness on your phone, computer, laptop, and download the free
program flux, which slightly changes the color on your laptop at night to make it easier on your eyes.
4. Turn off the screens – staring into a TV screen makes your body think it’s daytime, so try having a TV
turnoff time of 9 pm, and spend the rest of the night reading, doing homework, or listening to music.
5. Rest in a completely dark room – dim lights from the street, TV, or cell phones can affect the quality of your sleep, so make it as dark as possible.
How much do you need?
Rest requirements are different for everyone, but there are a few guidelines to follow. You should be able to wake up naturally, without an alarm. If you’re not able to wake up without an alarm or multiple alarms, it could be a sign you’re not getting enough rest. During periods of physical training your sleep requirements will increase, so for athletes, this could mean at least 8-10 hours per night.
Athletes do what’s needed to win in their sport, this involves doing things besides just playing your sport.
Things like working out, eating right, and sleeping enough all contribute to a successful competition season.
1. Calamaro CJ, Mason TB, Ratcliffe SJ. Adolescents living the 24/7 lifestyle: effects of caffeine and
technology on rest duration and daytime functioning. Pediatrics. 2009;123(6):e10051010.
2. Mitchell JA, Rodriguez D, Schmitz KH, AudrainMcGovern J. Sleep duration and adolescent obesity.
3. Milewski M, Pace, J., Ibrahim, B.A., Bishop, G., Barzdukas, A., Skaggs, D. Lack of Sleep is Associated with
Increased Risk of Injury in Adolescent Athletes. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and
4. Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, Dement WC. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of
collegiate basketball players. Sleep. 2011;34(7):943950.
5. Mah CD, Mah, K.E., Dement, W.C. Athletic performance improvements and sleep extension in collegiate
tennis players.Sleep. 2009;32:A155.
6. Reyner LA, Horne JA. Sleep restriction and serving accuracy in performance tennis players, and effects of
caffeine. Physiol Behav. 2013;120:9396.
7. USOC sleep recommendations. http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/7765998/forathletessleep-
8. Ryan Hall sleep quote. http://www.onemedical.com/blog/newsworthy/sleeplessonsolympians/.
9. Van Dongen HP, Maislin G, Mullington JM, Dinges DF. The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness:
doseresponse effects on neurobehavioral functions and sleep physiology from chronic sleep restriction and total sleep
10. Spiegel K, Leproult R, L’HermiteBaleriaux M, Copinschi G, Penev PD, Van Cauter E. Leptin levels are
dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympathovagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol, and
thyrotropin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(11):57625771.
11. Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy
Men. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;305(21):21732174.