Whether a child is just beginning to play a sport or has been active their entire life, getting an adequate amount of sleep is vital to their success, health and overall well-being. Sleep plays an important role in the development of young athletes and ensures their body is well-rested and prepared for competition, according to the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute.
During times of quarantine and self-isolation, young athletes may not feel the need for quality sleep each night. However, it’s vital for proper body functions and muscle growth, especially while participating in youth speed and agility training. Here’s why every athlete needs good sleep!
A good night’s sleep is directly linked to the body’s physical health and can impact it in many different ways. For example, many studies show a correlation between lack of sleep and obesity because adequate sleep is important for the body’s functions. It may seem simple, but the longer people are awake the more trips to the kitchen they will make — something that is troubling for a young athlete. In addition, with athletes pushing their bodies to the limit, it is important for them to use sleep as a way to recharge and reenergize to avoid exhaustion and injury.
This is especially important when athletes are training or in season. When athletes are working hard in the weight room, field, or court, sleep aids as a way to replenish energy, and ultimately get them ready for the next day.
Recharging the body with sleep helps athletes reach peak performance, and some studies indicate athletes require more sleep than non-athletes due to the impact they are putting on their bodies. Because athletes especially those in youth athletic training programs are required to devote large amounts of time to their sport, they often lose sleep.
Sleep deprivation is linked to a child’s mental and emotional health, too. Lack of sleep affects people in different ways but usually impacts the brain’s ability to relax and cope with stress. And when this part of the brain is affected, young athletes are usually less inclined to exercise. Getting an ample amount of sleep will not only make you more productive but overall happier.
Sleep tips for young athletes
Studies show one-third of parents believe their children aren’t getting enough sleep. Young athletes ages 6-13 should get between nine to 11 hours of sleep and for the 14-17-year-olds they should get around eight to 10 hours. In addition to sleeping the proper amount, it is important to have consistent bedtimes and wake-up times. And while young athletes may be tired after a long day or practice, it is paramount to avoid regular napping.
Sleep is important for everyone, but even more for the growing athlete. Young athletes need to understand how quality sleep and a consistent schedule will benefit them; not only in their everyday lives, but their athletic performance as well.
At Warren Academy, we youth speed and agility training programs for young athletes of any sport in the Omaha, Nebraska area. To learn more about our speed and agility training program, or any of our other sports performance programs, visit our website today!