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Interesting Facts About Sleep and Sports

  • January 29, 2016
  • By Grace
Interesting Facts About Sleep and Sports

We all know that we feel better when we have a restful night of sleep, but did you know that it can also have a huge impact on how well you perform? Mattress Next Day made an infographic about sports and sleep and has some interesting information about sports stars, how they sleep, and the effect of sleep on performance.

Usain Bolt sleeps for anywhere between 8 and 10 hours each night, while Roger Federer makes sure she’s snoozing for 11 or 12. Michelle Wie, Andy Murray and Lebron James all get a long sleep of 12 hours each night- that’s huge considering many people make do with anywhere between 6 and 8.


Stanford University’s Centre for Sleep Science and Medicines have completed some interesting studies about sleep, and focused on both male and female sports teams at Stanford.

Both teams were asked to increase the amount of sleep they got each night, and ensured that the slept 10 hours each night for six to eight weeks.

As you can imagine, the results were significant. Swimmers left the block 0.15 seconds faster than they were previously, increased their stroke frequency by 5 kicks, and took an average of .51 seconds off of their 15 metres sprints.

Tennis players showed more accurate serves, with accuracy rising from 12.6 to 15.61, with average sprint times decreasing to 17.56 from 19.12. It seems like increases in speed were common across the board, as American Football players increased their speed for the 40 yard dash, decreasing their time from 4.71s to 4.61s.


Basketball players improved their accuracy, as free throw shooting increased by a massive 9% and their three-point shooting accuracy increasing by 9.2%.

These results are amazing, and if you’re anything like me, you may be wondering exactly how much you could improve your own life simply by getting more sleep.

The Current Biology Journal also published a study looking at sleep, and examined the performance of those who woke up at different times of the day- early, intermediate and late risers. 20 female hockey players were asked to run 20 metres throughout the day, and it appears that the times that they reached their peak performance were directly related to when they got out of bed. Early risers peaked at noon, intermediate rises hit their best results shortly before 4pm, and Late risers peaked much later at 8pm. These results could allow professional sports people to tailor their sleep schedules depending on what time of the day they need to perform.

Many athletes are known to do whatever they can to ensure that their bodies are doing what they want. Michael Phelps has even been known to sleep in an altitude chamber which makes his body think that he’s sleeping between 8,500 and 9,00 feet, increasing how much oxygen is delivered to his muscles which is meant to improve endurance. Usain Bolt is also know to use an orthopaedic bed (7-ft long) due to his back problems.

Sleep & Sports (final)

By Grace, January 29, 2016
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