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There are a lot of things that can contribute to your success as an athlete. Along with training and nutrition, sleep should be an important part of any athlete’s regimen. In fact, for some athletes, sleep can be more important that the actual training itself.
Sleep is important because it is when your body gets to recover, not just physically but mentally as well. The recommended amount of sleep for an athlete in high school is usually anywhere from 8-12 hours. Teenagers do need more sleep than adults because their bodies are still growing and developing. However, there is such a thing as too much sleep. Too much sleep can make you feel groggy and throw off your body’s rhythm.
There are different stages of sleep and all of them are important. You don’t need the same amount of time in each stage, everyone is a little different. One of the more important stages of sleep is REM sleep, which refreshes our mind a little more and helps you focus the next day and remember things. A football player, for example, needs to be able to memorize a playbook so it’s important to get enough of that REM stage of sleep.
When it comes to sleep, quality is just as important as quantity. You should make sleep a priority in your daily routine, and to do this, you can give yourself a bedtime. Before you go to bed, take the time to unplug from technology. Turn off the TV and your cell phone and unload and unwind from your day.
One misnomer is that you want to go to bed on a full stomach. You should actually go to bed a few hours after you’ve eaten. That way you wake up equally fasted enough to have breakfast and make sure you have your energy stores for the next morning. You should also avoid caffeine around the time you go to bed.
In order to be a good athlete, you need to be dedicated. Dedicate yourself to a bedtime and hold yourself to it. In the end, a rested athlete is a better athlete.