Does Sleep Affect Sports Performance

Does Sleep Affect Sports Performance
The answer to this question may surprise you.  So lets dive into the science and see just how much sleep affects  your sports performance and when it might actually hurt you.  Before we get started if you want better sleep you can grab the  Performance Sleep Guide For Athletes Ebook. It’s Free - just head  over to 

First let’s explore what happens if you have a crappy night’s sleep before your big race, game, or competition.

In 2014 a study was conducted with marathon runners. The runners  were asked the morning of the race how they slept and had to  estimate how they would do. 70% of the runners reported worse  sleep, however the was no difference between their estimated  performance and their predicted performance.  So - one poor night sleep didn’t necessarily effect their running  performance but it did affect their mood. The runners reported worse  mood, more tension and more fatigue. (Lastella et al., 2014)  Additionally - studies show poor sleep on a single night affects your  submaximal output – but not your maximal efforts. Your mood  deteriorates before your strength, and perceived exertion increases  while endurance decreases slightly.  In short - if you sleep bad one night - you won’t be in as good of a  mood, things might feel a bit more difficult - your endurance will be  down a bit, but overall you can still perform at a high level.

But what happens if you get continuing bad sleep?

Well - in a study using younger athletes a lack of sleep resulted in  increased injury. In fact - Athletes who slept on average <8 hours per night were 1.7 times  more likely to have had an injury, compared with athletes who slept  for ≥8 hours. 

Not only does continuous poor sleep or a lack of sleep put you at higher risk of injury… but your performance suffers.

In a study they made subject sleep for 4 or 6 hours per night for 14  days and here’s what they found. If you have two days where you sleep less than 6 hours… your attention and reaction times decrease by 3 times.  And you know how when you get tired you get brain fog. Well, imagine you stayed up for 48 hours. How do you think your brain would perform?  Well - if you suffer from chronic restricted sleep you would have the  same cognitive performance as someone who has been awake for 48  hours straight.  And last there was not big difference between the decline in  performance whether you got 4 hours or 6 hours of sleep. So if you’re  sleeping less than 6 hours - your body is suffering. 

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Unfortunately, You’re getting worse and you may not even know it.

Turns out subjects were largely unaware of the cognitive deficits caused by sleep loss. Basically - if you struggle to sleep well - you’ve  forgotten what it feels like to actually feel good and perform well.  Additionally studies with MLB and NFL players suggests that  increased sleepiness is associated with decreased career longevity.  Plus sleep deprivation can alter a number of other biological  functions. Sleep deprivation can change how your body metabolizes  glucose. It can alter your carbohydrate metabolism, appetite, food  intake, and protein synthesis.   So yes - there is research suggesting one night poor sleep doesn’t  really affect performance. Even multiple nights poor sleep does cause  a major detriment to physical fatigue.  But chronic restricted sleep - less than 6 hours - has a major impact  on mental fatigue. And mental fatigue has a big impact on physical  performance. So if you want to feel good - and perform at your full potential. Make  sure you’re getting enough sleep.  If you want help with better sleep you can download the Sleep  Performance Guide for Athletes 100% Free at sleepguide  Remember to like and subscribe for more science based video to  help you improve your athletic performance.