Sleep Can Be a Surprisingly Effective Performance Enhancer


Sometimes we undervalue the role that sleep can play in our lives. But sleep can actually be one of the best performance enhancers out there. If you're not getting enough sleep, you're not giving your body a chance to perform at its peak potential. Here's a look at how enhancing sleep quality can enhance your overall life, whether by improving your athletic achievements or your performance at daily tasks.

Sleep is a Legal Athletic Performance Enhancer


Maybe you've never thought of it quite this way before, but sleep is actually a legal athletic performance enhancer. A protein shake and a doctor's visit just aren't enough if you're still sleep deprived every day. Athletes are up to 70 percent more likely to have sports injuries if they don't get eight hours of sleep a night. Less sleep can increase lactic acid build-up and decrease muscle strength.


In fact, increased sleepiness sometimes correlates with a shorter athletic career overall. Sleep deprivation may increase the chance of having fatigue, poor focus, and low energy during workouts, and it could slow your recovery after a big game. Sleep loss might even simulate the symptoms of overtraining. While more research is needed to understand just how all this works, it's clear that sleep is a vital athletic performance enhancer.

Sleep Enhances Work and School Performance


But getting enough sleep isn't just important for athletes. Enhancing sleep quality is important for daily performance of all kinds, whether at school or on the job.


Sleep can improve your immune function, increase your energy levels, coordination, and alertness. With a good night's sleep, you can stay focused during the day, helping you be sharper and more creative at work and school. You'll learn new information more easily and store memories more efficiently with enough sleep.


Sleeping less than six hours a day can make you more likely to get burned out on the job. You'll be more distracted, anxious, angrier, and take bigger risks. Just 16 to 19 minutes less sleep at night can hurt cognitive performance at work.


If you're not getting enough sleep, now is the time to experiment with a full eight to nine hours a night. Give it a try and see if it helps your athletic performance or your daily life at school or work. To improve your sleep, try having a small snack with tryptophan one to two hours before bed. Start a relaxing bedtime routine such as reading a book, having a cup of decaffeinated tea, or listening to a sleep podcast. Stay away from bright screens before bed and sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room.


If you're getting a full night's sleep but still feel tired during the day, consider talking to your doctor about a sleep study. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is one condition that might make it tougher to get a restful sleep.

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