People are always harping on the fact that athletes need to get plenty of sleep and to take good care of themselves. This is certainly true, but the question is why? Why is sleep so very important for young athletes, and does it really make a difference? The answer to that second question is a resounding yes. There are a variety of reasons why young athletes need to ensure that they get adequate amounts of sleep each night.
Good Sleeps = Fast Reaction Times
First things first, one of the reasons athletes need adequate sleep is because it will aid in improved reaction times.
When people have not slept for as long and/or as thoroughly as they should, they will often be less alert and less aware, thereby leading to slow reaction times, which can really hurt an athlete’s performance, especially an on-ice athlete.
Believe it or not, those with sleep deprivation are often just as disadvantaged in terms of reaction time as those who have recently consumed alcohol!
A Greater Risk of Injury
You might not think that how much sleep an athlete has (or doesn’t have) would make a big difference in terms of his or her risk of injury while playing the game or practicing. However, studies have shown that those with sleep deprivation are a lot more likely to get injured, often seriously, while involved in their sport.
People who don’t get enough sleep often have a reduced immune system, in terms of effectiveness, leading to a greater likelihood of getting sick or suffering more severely from injuries or small upsets. Likewise, those who don’t sleep enough don’t have bodies that can easily repair and regenerate themselves, which means that small “hurts” on the ice or in any sport can lead to more serious injuries when a person is sleep deprived.
With so many issues that can be caused by sleep deprivation among athletes (these are just a few of many!), it’s easy to see that getting adequate sleep is vital. Athletes, especially young ones, are encouraged to get at least eight hours of sleep per night in order to be their healthiest and function at their best.