RAC SWIM Tip: Sleep!!

It can be so tempting to stay up into the late hours of the night scrolling through Instagram. But in the long run, what’s more important: a girl’s Instagram post you barely know or getting the most of your training?
 
Sleep quality is so important, yet so easy for athletes to overlook.
 
Here’s some things you probably didn’t know about how sleep affects your athletic performance.
 
HELPS REACTION TIME IN ATHLETES
Have you been wanting to speed up your starts? Reaction time, especially in shorter events like the 50 freestyle, is a crucial element of your race.
 
ATHLETES SHOULD BE GETTING EXTRA
Yes, we’ve all heard it. The average person should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. But as swimmers, we aren’t average people. The hours upon hours of training take a toll on the body. Jim Thornton, the president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, advises athletes to sleep an hour more per night than the average person.
 
SOLIDATES SKILL MEMORY
While you’re sleeping, your mind goes over everything you’ve learned that day. That includes the new backstroke technique you just learned. It takes 21 days to form a habit, but without sufficient sleep, your body won’t remember to perform certain skills like you want it to.
 
IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
We’ve all experienced it: those long nights spent cramming, then trying to wake up at 6 AM. That exhausted, irritated mood you feel the next day can be directly correlated with lack of sleep. During practice, the last thing you need to be is irritated. If you are well rested, your body will not only feel better physically, but mentally. You’ll be more ready to take on that challenging set.
 
SLEEP BETTER TWO NIGHTS BEFORE COMPETITION
Although it may make the most logical sense that the night before the meet is the most important, scientific studies suggest just the otherwise. According to an article on Sports Performance Bulletin (pponline.co.uk), not sleeping at all the night before a big race should not affect your performance in a negative way.
 
People who exercise intensely and as frequently tend to be more tired by the end of the day, and rightfully so! Don’t deny your body of what it needs- take advantage of all the opportunities swimming affords you and use your hectic practice schedule as an excuse to get more sleep. You won’t be sorry.
 
Bryana Cielo (swimswam)