Sleep Importance for Performance -- Rick Court

Sleep is a very important element in life in general. We need it recover, refresh and grow.

There are many ways to help yourself to better sleep. I will go over a few hints to improve that and give you actual information that shows it does affect performance.

  1. It’s essential to get on a sleep schedule. Your body likes regularity and if you go to sleep and wake up on a schedule your body will start to anticipate when it will go to sleep.
  2. You have heard this for a long time… the goal is 8-10 hours of sleep. This takes discipline and planning.
  3. Try to develop a bedtime routine that calms you down. Try to start this 15-30 mins before bed.
  4. Get your bedroom the way you like it. Cool, Dark, Your Bedding, Covers, etc
  5. Try to stay off your phone, computer and tv approx.. an hour before bed. The light from these devices can keep you up and prevent melatonin release that is important for sleep. This takes want and discipline.
  6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. This could prevent quality sleep and increase resting heart rate. When you sleep you want quality sleep!

I really believe most people and athletes can tell you this information. The difficult part is actually executing it with the discipline needed. I have coached athletes who have really disciplined themselves to get quality sleep and it has paid dividends in their performance.

I have posted sleep study signs in the locker rooms where people can see regularly and have had educated players on it regularly as well with team, group or individual meetings.

What are the results… I was fortunate enough one year to be able to have 30+ players wear sleep bands and get the information tracked. As with any study you find the good and the bad. Some players were compliant and some were not. Either way because of relationships and knowing players you could gather data. The results were what common sense would tell you. The year we did the study the team’s record was 6-6. The weeks of the 6 wins the sleep line was green and above what we dictated as quality sleep with the participants. The weeks of the 6 loses… you guessed it, red line, below what we deemed as quality sleep.

As educators, teachers and coaches we have to continue to do what we do… teach! Be relentless and be honest. Winning, strength gains, high academic performance, concentration, mental health and quality days of on/off the field performance always start with quality sleep. Talk about sleep with your players. You can record it on a board in your meeting room or team room. You will get what you emphasize


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