Today’s most youth soccer players are tired. What happens if a soccer player doesn’t get enough sleep? How important is sleep anyway?
Although sleep is most times overlooked when planning out a training regimen, it should be considered as equally important as nutrition and physical conditioning. Slowed reaction times lead not only to missed pass or goal opportunities but can result in injuries as well. No matter what level they are performing at that they need to listen to their bodies. When preparing for a physically demanding match or training, it is important to ensure that you are hydrated before, during and after, are well fed and have given your body the proper nutrition to supply the body with energy throughout the entire match.
Sleep is a requisite if you want to be great on the field: Sleep experts have been studying the effects of sleep deprivation for many years and have determined that the lack of sleep affects the athlete greatly in the following ways:
Sleep to Recover:
Muscle fatigue and breakdown, which occurs after strenuous activity, and needs adequate time to heal for the muscles to repair and regenerate before the next activity in order to refrain from injury. A lack of sleep can also increase stress. Elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, has also been shown to interfere negatively with tissue repair and growth. SLEEP DEPRIVATION CAN ALSO LEAD TO SLOWED DOWN REACTION TIMES. And, a slow reaction on the field can lead to injury in the form of a collision with another player or being hit by a ball you didn’t see coming your way.
A lack of sleep can also increase stress. Elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, has also been shown to interfere negatively with tissue repair and growth.
Those who are sleep deprived may experience lower energy storage levels, which is needed to perform at peak levels in endurance events like soccer. Sleep impacts a soccer player’s performance: With busy schedules, often sleep suffers and no one really thinks about the lack of sleep impacting peak performance. This a big mistake.
In today’s fast-paced world, sleep is thought of as a luxury as opposed to a necessity. SLEEP IS NOT A LUXURY. This way of thinking needs to change, especially in the athletic population if a peak performance is expected out of the body every time it touches the soccer field.
Recommendations: What are the recommended hours of sleep for youth and adult athletes/soccer players?
This is a hard question to answer because like with most things in the human body, the number of hours of sleep needed is individually based, especially when we are talking about athletes. Sleep experts for many years have recommended 9-10 hours of sleep for the average adolescent or teen and 7-9 hours for the average adult, but those hours may need to be increased for the athletic population.
Proper focus on sleep and will allow the body the time it needs to recover and re-energize to perform at your best!