Sleep and Athletes

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The benefits of good sleep come into particular focus for athletes. Post-exercise recovery with extra sleep accelerates the building of muscle, strength, and endurance. Without proper sleep, athletes suffer from poorer reaction times, longer recovery times, and worsened performance.

How does sleep deprivation affect athletes?

Sleep deprivation for one night or two, or the accumulation of sleep debt over time (for example, from getting one less hour of sleep per night), impacts reaction time, attention and focus, and physical recovery for athletes. The body restores itself during sleep, so it is necessary for recovery from intense training. A person who is sufficiently well-rested will not waste any resources on staying awake or straining to stay focused and alert. Thus, their body and their mind can focus solely on their athletic performance.

Poor sleep reduces reaction time

While mild sleep deprivation does not negatively affect aerobic capacity, it does affect reaction time.

Even small amounts of fatigue can significantly reduce reaction time and degrade athletic performance. A 2000 study showed that pulling an all-nighter has a similar effect on reaction time as having a blood alcohol level of .05% – either scenario can cut reaction times by half.

This reduction in reaction time does not affect just performance and play; it also puts the athlete at greater risk of injury. A 2014 study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that adolescents who played a game following a night of fewer than 8 hours of sleep were nearly twice as likely to get injured.

Lack of sleep lengthens athletic recovery

Lack of sleep lengthens an athlete’s immediate recovery time, but has detrimental long-term effects as well. In fact, if sleep issues are not addressed, they have the power to cut an athlete’s career short. In 2013, a study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine followed 80 Major League Baseball players over a period of three seasons. Their sleeping habits were recorded before the start of the 2010 season and ranked according to the Epworth sleepiness scale. Players who scored high for sleepiness were less than 40 percent likely to still be playing three seasons later, as compared with 72 percent of players who scored low on sleepiness.

Sleep, stress, and mental focus for athletes

The effects of sleep deprivation are not isolated to physical performance. Lack of sleep also impacts an athlete’s mental focus, mood, and stress levels.

Anyone involved in endurance sports understands the power of a positive mindset. High performance athletes and Olympians frequently attribute part of their success to a strong visualization practice and positive attitude. Sleep deprivation has a strong impact on mood and can cause irritability that interferes with an athlete’s ability to think positive and “keep their head in the game.”

Studies indicate that sleep deprivation is linked to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Athletic performance already causes undue amounts of stress – adding to it is anything but helpful. Competitive athletes often have sleep onset insomnia before an important event, due to nervousness.

In Major League Baseball, “strike-zone judgment” or “plate discipline” refers to a player’s tendency to swing at pitches outside the strike zone. One might expect that over the course of a season, a player’s judgment would improve, since they have more practice, games, and at-bat time under the belt. However, one study of 30 teams found that players showed worse judgment at the end of the season due to mental fatigue from a long season filled with lots of travel.

Less sleep, lower energy for endurance athletes

Sleep deprivation has also been shown to inhibit production of glycogen and carbohydrates. These provide a critical source of energy during sustained athletic activity such as high-intensity weight-lifting or endurance events like marathons. If these stores are depleted, athletes will have less natural energy to rely on. As a result, they may rely increasingly on supplements that can have unexpected side effects.

These studies establish the importance of getting a quality night’s sleep if an athlete wishes to avoid risking athletic performance. The question then, is, does more sleep lead to better athletic performance? Some researchers say yes.

Do athletes require more sleep?

Research shows that athletic performance improves with sufficient sleep. Rested athletes are faster, more accurate, and have a quicker reaction time.

Stanford University’s Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory has studied athletes from basketball, track and field, tennis, golf, and cross country. The evidence, usually based on small sample sizes, suggests more sleep results in improved physical performance.

Sleep and Athletic Performance Studies

  • Swimming: In 2007, researchers asked a group of swimmers to sleep 10 hours a day for six to seven weeks and found notable improvements. Swim times were faster, and reaction times and turn times in the water improved. Kick stroke count increased as well.
  • Football: A similar regimen (10 hours of sleep per day during heavy training) for football players also produced improvements. Sprint times for both 20-yard and 40-yards declined by .1 seconds. The players also reported improved mood.
  • Tennis: When women’s tennis players increased their nightly sleep to 10 hours, they also experienced improved sprint times by 1.5 seconds as well as their serve accuracy by 23.8 percent.
  • Basketball: A 2011 study of basketball players found that getting two hours more of sleep each night boosted their speed by 5 percent and their shooting accuracy for both free throws and three-point shots by 9 percent.

In all of these studies, forcing the athletes undergoing heavy training to sleep longer than average people led to significant improvements in athletic performance.

How much sleep should athletes get?

Trainers recognize the benefits of sufficient and even long sleep for athletes in heavy training. The recommended amount of sleep for an average adult is 7 to 9 hours per night. By contrast, adult athletes should get 10 hours in the weeks surrounding their training and competitive events, to ensure optimal performance as well as an efficient recovery. Adolescent athletes should aim for at least 9 hours.

If it’s not possible to get the full amount of sleep, naps can be a way to “make up” for the missed time, although they are far from an ideal solution. Naps should be kept to 30 minutes or less, and should be avoided before practice or competition as they can cause sleepiness upon waking.

Why is sleep so important for athletes?

Sleep is important for everyone, but especially for athletes. Sleep allows the body to recover from the physical stresses of the day, as well as process new information and commit it to memory.

Benefits of non-REM light sleep and deep sleep for athletes

During non-REM sleep, the body experiences higher activity levels of cell division and regeneration than while awake. These processes are critical for muscle recovery. Without sufficient nREM sleep, recovery time will be longer.

Sleep spindles are brain waves that characterize stage 2 of light sleep. These brain waves indicate the brain synthesizing new information, such as new training tips, specialized plays or movement, and coaching advice.

During deep sleep, the body regulates levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol levels reach higher than normal, it impacts the body’s ability to digest glucose at best and lead to coronary heart disease or diabetes at worst. The inability to process glucose for sleep deprived athletes was similar to effects experienced by elderly individuals. Endurance is directly tied to the body’s ability to metabolize and synthesize glucose for later use as fuel during races and events that last beyond 90 minutes.

Benefits of REM sleep for athletes

During REM sleep, the Hippocampus works to transfer recently learned information to the neo-cortex for later recall. This includes all kinds of information, from muscle movements to visual and written information.

Very heavy exercise experienced by world-class athletes shifts the sleep architecture. The REM latency – which is to say the time period after the person goes to sleep before REM starts – is longer, and the sleeper has less REM during the first half of the night than normal.

Athletes who do not get sufficient REM sleep may notice a corresponding decline in performance. This is especially true for sports where detailed information is required to remember a play (such as football) or to orchestrate a movement (such as diving). For top athletes, fractions of seconds or inches can be the difference between winning or losing. It is critical that their bodies react quickly and perform movements as expected.

Does sleep deprivation affect male vs. female athletes differently?

Women are more prone to sports-related injuries than men. In particular, the most common injuries for women are ankle sprains, rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis, ACL tears, stress fractures in the foot or shinbone, and plantar fasciitis.

This has nothing to do with physical fitness. Rather, Harvard Medical School researchers attribute the higher risk of injury female athletes endure down to basic physiological differences between the sexes. For example, women have higher estrogen levels, looser ligaments, narrower knees, and a wider pelvis. The physical structure of the bones affects how women move. Female athletes can take proactive measures against injury by strengthening their muscles (especially the hamstrings if the sport is correlated with ACL injury), working to land from jumps with their knees farther apart, and using shoe inserts to prevent foot injuries.

Women are also more prone to sleep disorders such as insomnia, which can interfere with their ability to get quality sleep. Fortunately, women have been shown to recover from sleep debt more quickly than men.

How does sleep affect human growth hormone production for athletes?

Researchers have conjectured that long, heavy sleep impacts athletic performance due to the fact that growth hormones are released during deep sleep and the extra sleep encourages more hormone production. HGH production during deep sleep promotes tissue repair and recovery of the body and muscles, critical for maintaining sustained performance during an athlete’s career. Natural increase of HGH can be promoted by both exercise and sleep. Some top-level athletes attempt to gain a competitive advantage by taking supplements of human growth hormone.

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Sleep tips for athletes

Athletes wishing to improve their quality of sleep may find the following tips useful.

1. Practice good sleep hygiene.

Follow a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Reserve the bedroom strictly for bedroom-only activities. Develop a bedtime routine whereby you do the same things every night before bed, as a way of developing the habit of falling asleep.

The optimal bedroom temperature for sleep is in the mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes may benefit from an even cooler temperature, since they sweat more during the day and tend to run hot from all the activity.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol intake, especially in the days leading up to an event. Unless prescribed by a doctor, avoid sleep aids and medication as they may interfere with athletic performance.

2. Avoid exercise at night.

Sleep is induced and sustained when your body temperature lowers. Avoid elevating body temperature by not exercising right before bed.

Instead, reserve training and high-intensity workouts for the early morning and afternoon so as to energize the body for the day. Ideally, exercise can be paired with sunlight and performed outside to sync up your circadian rhythms.

3. Reduce the effects of jet lag.

Athletes also have to counteract the effects of travel and jetlag on their ability to sleep.

Jet lag is harder to overcome when traveling east. Athletes who have to travel less or are traveling west may have a competitive edge over their opponents, simply by virtue of already having acclimated to the time zone. Giving new meaning to the idea of a “home court advantage,” sleep researcher Dr. Christopher Winter has described this phenomenon as a “circadian advantage.”

Athletes should aim to arrive a few days early if possible, to help them adjust to the new time zone.

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How I Stay Fit at Fifty: When Things Have Changed



But, in a way for me it’s easier than it used to be. I was working way too hard! It did develop my body, but it also burned me out.

As we grow older our bones and joints do change. So I actually do less now and get better results. When I over push I gain weight – weird, but true. Maybe you noticed this also happens to you. You know why? CORTISOL. Your body is taxed more easily since it’s not in its peak athletic condition at this age and why many pro athletes RETIRE in their mid 30s.

We can act young and jump around in the gym and do all kinds of crazy things like run marathons and enroll in Cross Fit. But It is not ideal for your body because of your human nature. Bottomline!

But, this post is only about what I have discovered about me and based on research and time studying what works with MY BODY. This comes from a place of non-judgement and only experience having coached thousands of people and helping them transform their mind, body and spirit.

What I do now to stay fit is not nearly what I had to do as Pro athlete. This is because I don’t care if I am 115 lbs. or perfect. I am happy to enjoy life vs being the best body on the beach or on stage.

My adrenals respond better now to lighter loads and steady state cardio – HIIT must be done low impact and in intervals. I actually lose weight when I don’t over train.

Doing intensive training and over using my joints is how I tore my ACL, meniscus and shoulder. I am now looking at 6 months to a year of recovery if I opt to have surgery. TOO LATE. Even though being hard core and training heavy was once the way, I now appreciate and teach more classes like:



And I’m enjoying a good seated Senior Fitness Class 🙂

I have even incorporated these methods into my clients programs so that they don’t get overwhelmed by heavy hard and intensive training in order to lose weight. If they aren’t in a competition that is not necessary.


I do it four times a week, but I don’t use weight that could actually give me a heart attack. I keep my cardio time down to 30-45 mins. Why? Because it’s harder to gain muscle, Too much muscle can cost you and I am working on preserving energy for my work and other things. Working out often can drain your brain.


I don’t over eat protein anymore. It does not have the best impact on my digestion. It can also impair my kidneys. So I continue to eat high protein, but many sources are plant based and sources like Collagen Protein.

I also don’t just eat rice and potatoes for carbs. I look for foods that are high in Orac value. Micronutrients and Antioxidants are very important to our health and even mental well being. Our skin will flourish and be more radiant and beautiful. I incorporate lots of Superfoods and I also use some supplementation that ensures.

I get nitric oxide, superfoods and healthy fats.I do not take a bunch of different supplements anymore. I keep it simple. You know why? Because the liver and kidneys become more sluggish and can’t process too much crap going through them. It that can cause side effects. If you are supplementing a lot, be sure to drink a lot of water and check those liver enzymes.


It’s common in my clients that they need them. Hot yoga junkies especially. I don’t drink as much water only because as we age, it can flush all the vital nutrients out of your body. (Sodium, magnesium and calcium). So I drink 1 gallon a day vs 2.


  • I don’t care to be perfect
  • I have bites of desserts and enjoy a good wine.
  • I don’t care to be the best at everything.
  • I am into quality everything.
  • I care more about my personal relationships & build them
  • I look forward to being a grandma one day
  • I have raised my kids so I have more time for me
  • I don’t sweat the small stuff
  • I embrace all kinds of people
  • I have more compassion.
  • I have been there and done that so now I great vision… (well actually that is changing too)


Collagen and Elasticity change. You can do things to improve things without going extreme. Every 50 year old should have a good Med Spa. But all those treatments, can be toxic so take it easy. I refresh my looks, but make sure my face doesn’t look 10-20 years younger than my body. The foods I put in my body and organic skin care and treatments help a lot.


I accept that I may not be able to feel my best at my 115 lb. competition weight and that my 135 is a healthy weight for me at this time in my life. I still enjoy cute clothes and love a good party! But drinking, oh boy, wine has definitely become a part of my lifestyle because it relaxes me, but getting drunk ruins my body, my brain and my mind. So that must be in moderation. I want a healthy liver so I continue to have a healthy glow.


Be well… enjoy your next half a century!

What are the Benefits of Growing Your Own Vegetables?

Who can resist the temptation of getting your vegetable supply from your own backyard? A lot of people would be quite happy to have an all-year-round supply of vegetables from their home garden. Well, with the right knowledge and the right tools, we can make this dream come true… but wait, why would you want to go through all the trouble of growing your own vegetables when they’re readily available in the supermarket? Today, we’ll take a close look at the benefits that have attracted many to vegetable growing in their backyards!


The Benefits of Growing Your Own Veggies

Improved Health

No one is going to look after your health if you’re not doing it. Knowing the source of what you eat is one sure way to prioritize on your health and that of your family. With homegrown vegetables, you won’t need to use harmful pesticides and other gardening supplements. Even if you did choose to use pesticides supplements, it would only be in small, calculated quantities that will not harm your health.

Improved Economy

Who isn’t looking for a way to save a few bucks on their food budget? I do and I know many other people would appreciate an easy way to save on their foodstuff expenses. Imagine a scenario where you never have to spend a dime on vegetables from January to January; that is exactly what growing your own vegetables would mean. It cuts down on your grocery budget.

Even better, whenever you have surplus you can sell it to your neighbors and make a few dimes for other expenses.



Improved Lifestyle

In today’s modus operandi the regular person can hardly find time to exercise, but lifestyle diseases continue knocking at their doors restlessly. Work, stress and economic woes preoccupy us everyday and the only thing we can do once we want to do at home is to sleep. Growing your own vegetables is an opening to physical activity that you can do as a family. You can make a hobby out of gardening. Such a good thing on top of all the healthy benefits that come with growing your vegetables?

Add Color to Your Backyard

The splash of green and an array of flower colors not only make your backyard a beauty to behold. This also gives you a reason to want to spend more quality time there. During a boring weekend and one that you do not want to go out, your backyard becomes a breathtaking beauty that you can admire for hours. There is beauty in growing vegetables —and even more so in your own home!

No Seasonal Limit to Vegetables You Eat

If you’re like me, you don’t appreciate seasonal changes that mean you won’t be getting certain vegetables at certain times of the year. How about getting ahead of this hurdle by growing your own vegetables? It is your garden and you get to decide what you feel like growing. Your supply of favorite vegetables will never run dry simply because the tide of seasons will have no bearing on what you grow. Just make sure to educate yourself on the different needs of your select plants.


You Help Our Beautiful Planet

Do you know what goes into growing vegetables for large scale supply? A lot of chemicals, harmful to the environment are used. When you grow your own vegetables at home, you get the chance to reduce the amount of these chemicals that have a far-reaching impact to the environment. If you and your neighbors get into this practice, you will be doing a big favor not only to yourselves but also the environment.










Join the “Fresh is Best” Lifestyle

When you eat fresh vegetables, you are getting unmatched nutritional value to your body. You only pick vegetables direct from your garden and only the amount you will be using at the moment. This is a big plus to your health since you have control over the freshness of the vegetables you eat.




Wrap Up

Nothing beats the convenience and a score of other benefits of growing your own vegetables. As much as it is healthy, you will considerably cut down on your grocery expenses. Once again, make sure you get the right tools and a garden hose (personally, I recommend a metal garden hose) for it to be an enjoyable journey all the way!


“Hello there! My name’s Sarah. I help out with the gardening posts you’ll find on the blog, and I’m also in charge of spreading the word about ElectroSawHQ to fellow bloggers and new readers on the Web.

Aside from helping my husband out with the family blog and taking care of our son, Zach, I’m a dedicated housewife and an avid gardening enthusiast. Family gardening and blogging just complement each other so nicely, I think everyone should try it!”

Secrets To Slaying as a Spiritual Entrepreneur


Owning businesses and having a few revenue streams is a lot of pressure.

But, I thrive on that. I am constantly paying attention to the ebb and flow. It’s no different than deficits and gains.  If something is energetically draining me, the signs are there that it’s not in alignment with my goals. If it is feeding my soul, I am profiting and I am thriving energetically, I am at the right place and at the right time. Less obstacles in the way. All is in sync and there is grace, known as, synchronicity. 

Here is how I keep the channels clear and accelerate my success:

  • I often look for energetic blocks. People or situations that block my success. It’s a tough call, but sometimes they have to go so all can flow again. If you can’t eliminate them you find creative ways do work with that energy. Dance with it. 
  • Once you shift into a place of this is not work, but what I am meant to do. You develop a strong mindset of purpose and doing you love. Maybe you just want another revenue stream that will help you pay for your child’s college! 
  • Knowing your why is when the magic happens. All I must do to leap to success becomes an invitation to better myself and expand beyond my own self limiting beliefs. Even the stuff I least enjoy. I tend to do that first and get it out do the way. Then I get to play!
  • If you want to be a super attractor for abundance you need to proceed more consciously. You need to have integrity and be a trustworthy. The people and things you need appear and have divine purpose towards your goals. Visualize. Embody your goals. Walk it and talk it!
  • Some view opportunity as “work” or think it should be “easy”. This over complicates it all. It should be play. And when you do it with love and see it as a game, you win!
  • Tell yourself this… “I welcome infinite possibilities and am open to receive.”
  • Networking is the number one way to succeed in my books. When you are around people who believe in your mission and who you connect with let them also help you find the things and people you need to build what it is you are doing.
  • The synergy of supporting and mentoring one another is very powerful. But, the key  is to always remain coach-able. If you have nothing to learn you must get back to reality and remind yourself, “I am not dead, I am meant to create and I need help! This is human.
  • When approaching less conscious people with what you have to offer, shift into speaking to them on their terms. Language they are receptive too and a pace they can digest. Slow talkers, slow talking. Always shift away from selling to “sharing”.
  • People pick up on energy. It’s magnetic and attractive. Salesy people come off manipulative and needy. When you believe in what you are offering and understand your why, you are authentic and people are more responsive to passion.
  • Be okay with judgments and rejections. Not everyone will be woo-hoo for what you offer. So be okay with some rejection. More people reject things without even really listening because they are afraid of regret and fear. So find out if you can ease their fears. Follow up later.
  • If you genuinely want to help people they will at least appreciate your invitation to share with them what you feel may benefit them. If not, practice non attachment to outcomes and move on to those who love, support and need your vision. They are out there. Gotta keep sifting.


I have a passion for helping others succeed and a reputation for being good at it now. I love sharing my success secrets.

In order to keep the spiritual vibes high,  you need to stay out of the garbage and keep focusing on staying “onward and upward!” Some people are just nasty. So pray for them. 

People pick up your grace and ease when you feel knowledgeable and aligned with your truth. You are confident that what you are offering serves others in a higher way. They may not go for what you have to offer, but they will continue to observe you. You never know, they may come around over time. Anything is possible!

If you are just posting to post. Get to work. Start another revenue stream!! Use your time wisely. Use social media to build relationships and attract. Be relatable and real. Care by supporting others too unconditionally. Post for them. Buy from them. Refer to them. Wish them a Happy Birthday!

Embrace your success, own your light , know your purpose and step into your greatness fully. Faith is a muscle. 

Practice surrendering and aligning yourself with your purpose for doing something towards your higher purpose everyday. Abundance is a symbol that you are on to something and are in the flow.

Don’t be surprised if some things to fall in your lap and that the guidance you need appears and comes quickly. 

 That’s how I role as a Spiritual Entrepreneur!

Still not feeling so sure? Just surrender and say this in a prayer to God, the Universe, your higher self, “Where would you have me go? What would you have me say? And to Whom?” Watch for Divine Guidance. 

I promise it will come and it will amaze you! 

Michelle Johnson: 
CFT Transformation Specialist,

Noted as Top Blogs to Watch in 2018

We have been featured in ElectroSawHQ for being one of the Best Blogs to Follow in 2018! This is such a big honor and we are thrilled to be a part of it! Check out their blog post to see all of the other blogs that got to be a part of this!

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