Sleep is a powerful performance-enhancing tool. When the difference between being on the podium or not can be such a slim margin, athletes are looking for anything they can do to gain that edge. Teams and athletes are starting to take notice and are looking for sleep coaches to help navigate the elusive sleep that is hard to come by. That’s where you can come to the rescue!
When athletes obtain optimal sleep, their mood, fatigue, mental and physical performance, recovery, and cognition improve while their risk of injury decreases. However, incorporating sleep as part of an athlete’s training regimen is often overlooked. Additionally, obtaining sufficient sleep can be difficult as athletes travel to tournaments — especially if it involves traveling across time zones. The change in time disrupts an athlete’s circadian rhythm, which can contribute to sleepiness and fatigue, and negatively impact an athlete’s performance. A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) demonstrated that baseball players’ performance decreased as the season progressed due to frequent travel (i.e., disruptions in the sleep-wake schedule). Improving sleep could potentially improve performance and prevent injury in athletes, and in recent years, scientists have used partial body and whole-body cooling as a way to do this. Some results have been promising.
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Over the summer, I read an enjoyable motivational book about developing grit and learning successful life skills. I recommend it; however, being a sleep/sports performance enthusiast, I did have some angst as to how sleep was portrayed in this story — especially as athletes start a brand new high school season.
Long before the Cleveland Indians took up the nickname “Indians” and introduced their controversial mascot Chief Wahoo, they were named the Cleveland Naps! But, unlike the naps that help recharge Cleveland Cavalier basketball star LeBron James, the Cleveland Naps of the early 1900’s were not named after a favorite activity of MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL athletes, but rather after the player/manager Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie.
They call it “the grind.” Long bus rides, late night fast food, hotels of bad and mediocre quality, roommates that snore louder than any home run hometown crowd noise, and living conditions that can be anything from air mattresses, to stolen motel pillows or even dog beds on a bus floor.