Basketball and Sleep: The Dream Team

by Julie Tramonte on Mar 15, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Ibasketball in the net-1.jpgF YOU'RE A COLLEGE basketball fan, today is the day you’ve been waiting for – the first day of March Madness!

With all the excitement for the 2018 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, sleep may be the last thing on your mind. But, hopefully, the basketball players and coaches are giving sleep the priority it deserves since it can mean the difference between a winning a bracket or falling off and having to wait until next year.

5 Reasons Why Basketball Players Need 8 Hours of Sleep

1. Lack of sleep affects memory.
Players and coaches need to remember plays. While sleeping, your brain forms neural pathways that connect thoughts and make learning and remembering easier.

2. Lack of sleep slows decision-making.
In the heat of the game, quick calls need to be made and players have to make fast decisions. If they’re not getting enough sleep, it will impact their cognitive performance, which impact the game.

3. Sleep helps with impulse control.
Studies show sleep deprivation impairs self-control. When things get a little crazy, players and coaches will want to avoid getting a technical that could wind up costing the game. 

4. Sleep is good for tissue growth and muscle repair.
MAR 14 featured image.jpgWhile sleeping, your pituitary gland releases a growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. This is especially important for keeping basketball players in the game and off of the bench.

5. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced if you don’t get enough sleep. Players will have a higher risk of having to miss games due to illness if they don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

4 Ways Coaches and Athletes Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

1. Start slow, just like training. 
When learning how to shoot, players don’t start out making 3-pointers right away. Take baby steps. Try to go to bed 15 minutes earlier, and then increase it by 5 minutes each night or each week until you are getting 8 hours.

2. Turn off your electronics.
The blue light that emits from the screen makes you artificially alert and suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the natural hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Plus, being engaged in texting or social media is stimulating to the mind, making it hard to unwind and go to sleep.

3. Keep a pad of paper next to your bedside.
Write down things you want to remember or do the next morning. Having it down on paper helps to calm your mind because you’re not constantly trying to remember something.

4. Hit the showers or take a bath.
The hot water will initially raises your body temperature but once you get out, your body temp will drop after a few minutes, which will promote sleepiness.

Score with Sleep

In case you haven't noticed, sleep plays an important role in athletic performance. So whether or not you're a baller, make sure you get your recommended 7-9 hours of sleep so you can perform at your best.

Topics: Sleep Health

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