Collegiate Coaching: The Importance of Sleep

Here I go again, writing on a plane or in an airport. Despite time off from my full time position at a college counseling center, I have managed to cram in ample travel. Pros: I get to have fun, see people, go neat places. Cons: I’m tired and both my nutrition and sleep routines are prone to disruption. One added pro however to all my jet-setting is I get built-in time to contemplate and execute my next newsletter article. So, coming to you from 36,000ft above… Vermont, currently flying over Vermont… I reflected back on my last article around rest and recovery. I felt it important to continue that conversation in a bit more depth for this edition.

I find sleep and nutrition to be two topics for athletes that seems like an obvious to them, however is the least informed area that could ultimately derail their performance goals. My theory is that sleeping and eating are something we do every single day and have been for years, so we can’t help but ask “Why do I need to learn about how to do it?” As a result, we sometimes spend more time focusing on what we think is the area in need of improvement (ie developing more skills for focus on the court) when in actuality the true root to concentration may not be from a deficit of skill, but due to a lack of sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation runs national polls on the subject of sleep, the most recent poll focusing on the link around those who prioritize sleep and their overall effectiveness in life. While 65% polled believed that sleep contributed to next day effectiveness, only 10% prioritized sleep over other aspects of life. The poll found that many people struggle with prioritizing sleep because 1) they don’t value it as highly as say other areas like exercise or their work and 2) even if they do see it as a priority, they fail in execution and planning in order to ensure they get the sleep necessary to be effective.

Studies have shown the positive effects sleep has on areas around athletic performance including speed, accuracy, and reaction time (all pretty important for good performance). For our young performers out there, research has even demonstrated adequate sleep can decrease the chance for injury; for those skimping on sleep (fewer than eight hours) are 1.7x more likely to get injured.

So with all of this information and awareness at our fingertips, why is getting sleep on the backburner? Why are we self-sabotaging our success with something in our control to change?

Stay tuned, next newsletter I go into the specifics of what we can do to combat this challenge. In the meantime, ask yourself how well you are currently doing with prioritizing your sleep. Don’t want to wait until the next newsletter to learn more? Amplify Wellness + Performance is here to help explore your slumber stats and get you off to dreamland before the sheep ever get released from the barn!

National Sleep Foundation. (2018). The importance of sleep for young athletes who travel. Retrieved from

National Sleep Foundation. (2018, March 11). 2018 sleep prioritization and personal effectiveness. Retrieved from doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2018.02.007.

Back To Top