Posted by Find Kids Sports on 08/04/2016

Kids Playing Sports - 4 Benefits of More Sleep For Youth Athletes

Author: FindKidsSports.com

Kids Playing Sports - 4 Benefits of More Sleep For Youth Athletes

Everyone knows that sleep is important for kids and that the lack of sleep can affect them in many different ways. Teachers tell kids to “get a good night rest” before a big test and when parents see that their kids are extra moody or cranky they often come to the conclusion that they haven’t had enough sleep.  When we want our kids to perform better on tests, behave better or have all around better health one of the first things we think of is more sleep.

The same is even more true for youth athletes because they use so much energy at practices and games. As a parent, ensuring our children get as much sleep as possible especially when they are playing sports can improve their results in many ways. The longer hours spent in sleep influences REM, a mode which helps to give energy to the body, as well as the brain.  When kids push their bodies in practice or a game, they need more time to recover.  This is useful for repairing cognitive functions, in addition to the proper release of hormones.

We all know that getting kids to get more sleep is always easier said than done, but here are a few reasons to think about and to share with your athlete!

1.  Reduced Chances of Injury

One of the many benefits of getting adequate sleep is that it leads to reduced risk of sustaining serious injuries. A study carried out by the University of California among athletes found that one of the essential factors behind their injuries during sports matches was that they got fewer than 6 hours of sleep. While 8 or more hours is ideal, less than 6 can have a serious adverse impact on one’s motor functions.

Other studies that show that sleep has just as great an impact on athletic performance as practice and training. The greater the hours of sleep children get, the fewer will be the likelihood of them suffering from fatigue and tired muscles, leading to injuries. 

2.  Faster Speed

Sufficient sleep can also be useful for improving speed. The restoration of the body at a cognitive and physiological level is important for increasing the effectiveness of sprinting. A Stanford study involving a men’s basketball team found that players that received around 2 extra hours of sleep everyday showed greater speed in sprinting activities, in addition to shooting performance. 

3.  Greater Responsiveness 

When a game or competition becomes competitive, even a few crucial seconds can decide the outcome of the game. Higher reaction times are very important in any  sport, which is why players need to ensure they help achieve it through sufficient sleep, and learning this when they are young is the key to doing so. Studies show that a night without sleep can go as far as reducing the reaction time by as much as 300 percent. Parents need to make sure that their children do not stay up too late; the slightest symptoms of fatigue can have a detrimental effect on their ability to be responsive in a game.

4.  Greater Muscle Development

If children get enough sleep, it is a huge boost for their muscle development that can increase their physical fitness and performance. Getting sufficient sleep allows more time for physical repair and secretion of hormones which  leads to increased stamina levels and reduced risk of injuries.

Many kids have so much going on with school, sports and friends that sleep seems like a chore so some and a luxury to others.   Having the knowledge about the importance of sleep and how it will improve athletic performance is a goal that kids can try to reach one night or one nap at a time.


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References

  1.  National Sleep Foundation  Sleep, Athletic Performance and Recovery

  2. Web MD, Can Sleep Improve Your Athletic Performance?




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