As the title of this article indicates, quality sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of everyday performance. Studies have even shown lack of sleep can not only cause decreased performance , but also poor ability to utilize nutrition, decreased executive function, memory loss, improper recovery, and even depression.
The human body can go several weeks without food and a week without water, but can only go four days without sleep.
For a growing adolescent athlete, quality sleep is crucial for growth. Physiologically during these years, the body is growing at a very rapid rate, and for teenage athletes with high levels of activity, sleep is pivotal for recovery and growth. The below Infogram reveals a few statistics on teenage sleep patterns as well as the 4 stages of sleep:
Here are two ways that you, or your young athlete can enhance sleep.
- The Melatonin Wave
When melatonin is released form the pineal gland deep inside of the brain, it makes you relaxed, drowsy, and ultimately fall asleep. It is an organic drug produced internally. Simply learning to notice it and paying attention to when the melatonin wave hits the shores of your conscience can help you to get quality sleep.
- Turn off ALL screens 60 minutes before bed
Initially, the sun was the only light setting your neurological clock. However, now smart phones and computer screens threaten this natural rhythm. Each of these screens emits high levels of blue light waves, which in turn suppresses the pineal gland. This then decreases the production of melatonin.
Even though a very difficult task to do, turning the phone off before bed will greatly help increase sleep quality.
Most teenagers, even grown adults consider performance to be based around how well you train, or how good you eat. While both of these are extremely valid components to performance, SLEEP is the one of the most underrated aspects of performance enhancement that the body physiologically needs the most.
How many of you are reading this from bed on the phone?
Go to sleep.