According to Harvard Medical Professor Dr. Czeisler, sleep plays a fundamental role in improving athletic performance.
As the director of Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine, Dr. Czeisler is sometimes called the “sleep doctor.” He consults various athletic teams all around the country and has also worked with the Secret Service and NASA.
Some of his recommendations related to sleep and sleep quality include the following:
- Get enough sleep (between 7 and 9 hours) each night
- Take pre-game naps
- Sometimes consider substituting naps for practice time
Another interesting piece of advice involves sleeping after a lesson or game.
Dr. Czeisler explains “If you don’t sleep the night after training, then even if you sleep the next night or the next night, you never learn.” For athletes who compete without getting enough sleep, Dr. Czeisler compares this to playing your sport with one hand tied behind your back. If you are an athlete trying to improve your overall athletic performance, consider making sleep quality a top priority in your training regimen.