Adequate Sleep boosts athletic performance, weight loss

Does sleep boost athletic performance? Yes it does, But While it’s long been known that lack of sleep can have negative consequences, very few studies have looked at the effect that sleep extension (increasing sleep hours) can have on performance, particularly of athletes.

Researchers at Stanford have looked at this aspect recently.

The study finding: Young basketball players wanting to improve their game should put in long hours — not only of practice time, but also of sleep.

According to this study, by the researchers in the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, basketball players at the college level improved on-court performance by increasing their amount of total sleep time. Sleep is an “unrecognized, but likely critical factor in reaching peak performance.

The study thus suggests that — Athletes may be able to optimize training and competition outcomes by identifying strategies to maximize the benefits of sleep.

This is even more important to trainers and coaches who although know that lack of sleep can have negative consequences, but because of various pressures associated with competitive games, sleep is often the first to be sacrificed.

The study has established, based on research that along with nutrition and physical training, adequate sleep is also an integral part of a sportsperson’s regimen. Hence competitive athletes at all levels should consider optimizing their sleep and recovery; just as they optimize their nutrition and physical training.

How the study was conducted: Over the course of two basketball seasons, the Stanford researchers worked with 11 healthy players to measure the effects of sleep extension on specific measures of athletic performance. At the end of the study period, the players ran faster 282-foot sprints (16.2 seconds vs. 15.5 seconds) and their shooting accuracy during practice improved, with free throw percentages increasing by 9 percent and 3-point field goal percentage increasing by 9.2 percent.

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This study has directly supported the view that adequate sleep is utmost necessary for weight loss. Thus if you have just begun your weight loss journey; and wonder, why you are feeling dejected, getting “common cold” or feverish feeling, even after eating healthy and exercising six days a week; then give your sleep some attention. Chances are, in the enthusiasm of losing weight or living healthy, you may not be getting adequate sleep. If that’s the case, just hit the bed and sleep your heart out. And when you woke up, re-plan your weight loss regimen such that, you get atlest 8 hours of sleep daily. Believe me, it’ll help.

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