Sleep plays a significant role in promoting health and overall well-being. For athletes, their sleep habits can affect their performance in the following three areas:
1. Reduced Reaction Time And Accuracy
Even a fraction of a second in the response an athlete has to a play unfolding in front of them can be what makes or breaks the winning formula. Such levels of reaction are subject to being refreshed and alert during play and this goes hand-in-hand with getting enough sleep. Pulling an all-nighter can slush the reaction time by nearly 300% and with a recovery period that can last for days according to information from the Original mattress factory. Research shows that low fatigue level can also impede the reaction speed at a similar degree as that of being legally drunk.
Based on those findings, an all-nighter can impede a person's reaction time at a higher level than what four drink would. And in as much as being fatigued and being intoxicated are worlds apart regarding their physiological implication, an athlete can’t be at his or her peak performance level after four beers; how much more of an impact with the lack of a full night's sleep have!
2. Increased Risk Of Injury Rates
A study done by the University of California found that the rate of injury in young athletes was higher during games after a night of little to no sleep (less than six hours). The finding of a similar research done on high school athletes found also supported the same conclusion; it showed the risk of injury for athletes deprived or enough sleep was higher than even the hours spent practicing.
The conclusive findings from the two studies were that fatigue affects reaction time. An athlete who has not rested enough has a slower and less than accurate response when in play. Being tired will hamper the body's immune system causing the player to have a high risk of injury and more susceptible to diseases.
Furthermore, short sleep periods do not allow the body enough time to rejuvenate after the day's abuse of the court. Over time, the stresses and strain the body endures during games coupled with health issues dent the athlete's ability to contribute accordingly by having a fast and accurate response during play. Eventually, the athlete will spend more time on the sidelines.
3. Shortened Playing Careers
A study done on MLB players showed that fatigue shortens their playing careers; the players spend more time on the sidelines, and this also affects their income. According to W. Christopher Winter the lead investigator of the research, the lack of sleep not only impact an athlete's performance but income and career. As such, it can be prudent to state that studying or monitoring a player's sleep habits can help predict their performance levels and longevity of their professional career.