The Health & Wellness Corner is brought to you on a monthly basis by students in Waukee High School's APEX program. In consultation with fitness experts from Premier Athlete Training, students research a variety of health & wellness topics focused on improving the well-being of student-athletes. We'll also share a new a variety of fitness tips every month related to the primary topic discussed.
This month's Health & Wellness Corner written by Abigail Jones, Waukee APEX Associate
Sleep for Athletes
Many athletes know that physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In order to perform the best, athlete’s must prepare themselves outside of their sport. There are many things that contribute to an athletes performance. Eating healthy meals and snacks, training regularly, and making time for rest, recovery, and sleep. When one area is lacking, overall performance can suffer. It is recommended that athletes get 7-10 hours of sleep each night to ensure peak performance.
Importance of Sleep for Athletes
Sleep is important for athletes because it allows your heart to rest so that cells and tissues can be repaired. It can also prevent illness or help you to recover from an illness. While you sleep, your body produces cytokines which are hormones that help the immune system fight off infections. Sleep also helps an athlete's mental state. Sleep helps to maintain and consolidate memories. When athletes practice or learn new skills, sleep helps them to form memories and contributes to improved performance in the future. Without sleep, these memories can't be formed or maintained. Poor amounts of sleep lead to a decline in cognitive function which can have bad effects on athletes whose sports require a high level of cognitive function. Sleep is also important for maintaining an athletes overall mental health. Good quality sleep is associated with improving overall mood and it decreases the risk of developments such as depression.
Tips for Getting Good Sleep
- Have a cool-down routine. Activities such as reading or meditating can help your body to calm down and get ready for sleep.
- Reduce stressors. Not only do mental stressors affect your sleep quality, but they also impact overall performance.
- Stay away from electronics before bed. The bluelight that electronic devices emit can affect your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid caffeine before bed. Beverages with caffeine can interrupt sleep or lead to a more disturbed sleep.
- Create an appropriate sleep environment. Make sure your sleep environment is used for only sleep and it should be dark and cool.
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How Sleep Affects Athletes’ Performance
The IGHSAU Health & Wellness Corner is created by high school students in Waukee High School's APEX program. The IGHSAU is thankful for its partnership with Waukee APEX to create meaningful content to share with our member schools, student-athletes, coaches, and fans. To learn more about Waukee APEX, click here.