Why is sleep so important for young athletes?
As coaches and parents, we all highlight the importance of good nutrition, adequate hydration and regular cross training for young athletes. However, we ignore an important component of young athletes’ lives that affects both performance and injury risk: healthy sleep.
“Athletes need an appropriate amount of sleep for optimal health and peak performance,” explains Rachel Brewer, MD, a pediatric sports medicine physician with Rocky Mountain Pediatric OrthoOne. “Research shows that sleep increases speed, accuracy and reaction times in athletes. Additionally, sleeping less than the recommended approximately eight hours each night increases the risk of injury.”
To help you and your young athlete, Dr. Brewer recommends the following sleep tips:
Aim for eight to ten hours of sleep each night
Be deliberate about sleep habits
Create a regular schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time—even on weekends!
Create a calming bedtime routine
Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet
Avoid caffeine four to five hours prior to sleeping
Avoid screens at least one hour prior to the bedtime
Just like any component of an athlete’s training, sleep is a tool that could help or hinder performance goals, but can be a secret weapon to athletic success!
To learn more about sports medicine at Rocky Mountain Pediatric OrthoONE, visit us online or call (303) 861-2663.