The Importance of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can contribute to poor performance through reduced motivation and efficiency of cognitive processes, increasing perceived effort, and limiting physiological recovery responses. Monitoring the quality and quantity of sleep can aid in detecting poor sleep patterns and behavior, allowing for intervention to avoid significant reductions in health. The use of diaries outlining hours of sleep and sleep efficiency can be a useful measure for athletes to reflect on their sleeping patterns. In addition, various devices are available to monitor sleep over short periods of time that provide more objective data outlining the time of sleep, waking time, time taken to fall asleep, number of waking occurrences, and estimations of sleep quality, all of which provide information on sleep routines. Recommendations for sleep patterns should be specific to each individual; however, at least 7 hours of sleep is a general recommendation, implemented within a routine of consistent sleeping and waking time. Knowledge surrounding sleep and its importance with regard to recovery, monitoring, and assessment is becoming consistently more predominant within an elite performance setting.
ENSURING THAT ATHLETES FUNCTION OPTIMALLY THROUGHOUT TRAINING IS AN IMPORTANT FOCUS FOR THE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH. SLEEP IS AN INFLUENTIAL FACTOR THAT AFFECTS THE QUALITY OF TRAINING, GIVEN ITS IMPLICATIONS ON THE RECOVERY PROCESS. INTENSE TRAINING MAY PREDISPOSE ATHLETES TO RISK FACTORS SURROUNDING DISTURBED SLEEP PATTERNS. THESE MAY BE DUE TO INHERENT PHYSICAL EXERTION, COMMITMENT TO EXTENSIVE TRAINING SCHEDULES, THE EFFECTS OF TRAVEL, DOMESTIC OR INTERNATIONAL, AND THE PRESSURES THAT COMPETITION EVOKES. EDUCATING ATHLETES ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF SLEEP SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED BY STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACHES TO OPTIMIZE ATHLETE