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Part 3- The effects of Sleep on Performance for Soccer Players

by Taylor Tollison

Do you get enough sleep? With all the daily distractions like school, practice, games, family obligations, friend obligations, and other extracurricular activities, sleep, at the peril of our game, takes a back seat.

Athletes, coaches and parents need to make sleep a more important part of a soccer athletes training regimen. Why? In this article we are going to discuss some studies about how sleep affects our sports performance and our health.

Why is sleep so important?

The put in simply, lack of sleep can affect our performance. It also affects our health. One study found glucose tolerance was lower, cortisol (stress hormone) concentrations were raised and sympathetic nervous system was increased in sleep deprived individuals. (1) But I digress, this is about sports performance.

Deep down we all know sleep affects sports performance. But what are you doing about it? In another study researchers studied basketball players and the affect of sleep on their performance. The sleep on performanceresearchers asked the basketball players to get 10 hours of sleep a night for 5-7 weeks and if they would not get enough sleep to take a nap. At the end of the period the players had better sprints, shooting accuracy improved, free throw percentages increased by 9 percent, 3 point percentage increased by 9.2%, and fatigued levels were lower. (2)

I understand this study was about basketball but it has important implications for soccer as well. While their free throw shooting increased so can your penalty kicks. While their sprint performance improved so can yours. The bottom line is as an athlete you need to make sleep part of your daily routine. More sleep can have a positive effect on your performance.

If that was not enough to convince you itís interesting to note that similar results were found in tennis players where they too increased sprint performance and ran faster times. (3)

If you or your athletes are not getting enough sleep start making that an important part of training.

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Impact%20of%20sleep%20debt%20on%20metabolic%20and%20endocrine%20function
  2. http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2011/july/sleep.html
  3. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/anatomyandphysiology/a/Athletes-Sleep.htm