How does sleep improve athletic performance?

Today, the sporting world is more brutally competitive than ever before. Athletes need to constantly maintain their bodies in order to remain contenders in their sport of choice. Ideally, adults should be sleeping around 7 to 8 hours a day and for athletes, just like everyone else, it is the quality of the sleep that is more important than a number of hours. But actually getting great quality sleep in this day and age is difficult, to say the very least.

But we’re not talking about how much sleep you need or the difficulties you might experience with your sleep. Instead, we will be discussing that how proper sleep improves athletic performance.


Athletes are aware that physical conditional and proper nutrition are absolutely necessary for reaching peak athletic performance; however, something that is equally important as ‘work’ is ‘rest’, and in this case, we are talking sleep. Athletes, whether you are a professional athlete or someone who likes to occasionally compete in physical activities such as the Warrior Challenge, need great quality sleep, while training as well as before the competition.


Sometimes improving sleep is as easy as buying a new bed while other times it is a bit more complicated than that. What is important however, is that you improve your sleep to enchance your sporting career.

Sleep and athletic performance are closely related. Read more to find out how sleep can improve your performance on the field.
Sleep and athletic performance are closely related. Read more to find out how sleep can improve your performance on the field.

The ways that proper sleep improves athletic performance

  • Improved Reaction Times

Athletes know the importance of that fraction of a second, that fraction which is the deciding factor between a win or a loss. Athletes spare a moment when they need to react to a play happening in front of them; they need razor sharp focus and cat-like reflexes. Sleep deprivation is known to reduce reaction times significantly. Even a single all-nighter can decrease reaction times by more than 300%, not to mention recovering takes several days. Studies have shown even a surprisingly low level of fatigue can impair reaction times as much, if not more, than being legally drunk. But if the athlete has had proper sleep, then the effect is the opposite. Reaction time is increased when the athlete has had the proper sleep of 6 to 8 hours.

  • Reduced Injury Rates

Following our theme of reaction time, ask yourself what would happen if an athlete were to play in a sleep-deprived state? I’ll answer for you: they will no longer be able to save themselves from injury. Since you’re not fully alert, you’re more likely to be prone to injury during play. Why is this the case? As we explored in the first point, fatigue affects reaction time. An exhausted athlete is slower to react to a potential hit on the ice, the field, or the court. Secondly, fatigue affects the body’s immune system, making players more susceptible to illness. Thirdly, having short sleep cycles does not provide the body with adequate time to rejuvenate cells and repair from the workouts, games, and daily activities. Over time, game-earned injuries, health issues, and the inability to fully recover can wear on an athlete and contribute to more time spent on the sidelines.

Physically demanding sports can really take it out of you, but with quality rest, your body will bounce back.
Physically demanding sports can really take it out of you, but with quality rest, your body will bounce back.
  • Longer Careers

With proper sleep, your body’s is in the best shape possible. You are able to hit peak performance and maintain it, and since your body is in good condition, this healthy condition will last longer as well. That is why athletes who get proper sleep have longer lasting playing careers. Fatigue, on the other hand, is very physically and mentally taxing, which leads to a slow deterioration of the body. Working out and exercise takes a lot out of your body, and you need adequate rest to recover and allow your body to repair and regenerate the damage it took during that period. If that rest does not come or if the time you have to rest is reduced, then the body never has the opportunity to recover and regenerate that damage that it took. As time progresses, that damage remains (provided it doesn’t get worse) which hinders an athlete’s athletic ability thus shortening his or her career.

  • Greater Accuracy

In sports such as basketball and baseball, accuracy is the key. One slight miscalculation can cost your team the point, so you have to be very accurate with your shots. You can imagine that you will need a full presence of mind to make that shot but imagine that you don’t have that mental state and instead are disoriented and fatigued. Every time the athlete goes to make that shot, he misses because he does not have the proper control over his mental faculties that will allow him to aim properly. But if the athlete is refreshed, and at his or her best then that athlete would have no trouble with that shot.

Accuracy is the key to success in most sports.
Accuracy is the key to success in most sports.
  • Fewer Mental Errors

Sleep loss impairs judgment. Studies have shown motivation, focus, memory, and learning to be impaired by shortened sleep. Without proper sleep, the brain makes extra efforts to consolidate memory and soak up new knowledge. On the field, one study has shown that baseball player’s show decreased performance as the season progresses. Meaning the number of times a batter swings at a ball outside of the strike-zone increases. It would be the logical assumption that performance would increase as the season progresses, but that was clearly not the case found. Baseball players consistently showed better judgment at the beginning of the season than at the end. This can be true of any sport and any athlete when rest is neglected.

Whether you’re working out, playing for fun or are a professional athlete, the first thing they tell you to do along with working out is to make sure you get adequate rest. We have seen how this rest aids athletes in their games and sports, and how the lack of proper rest affects their performance. It is safe and very obvious to say that athletes need their rest to achieve peak performance, and the same is also true for the rest of us as well.


Though our jobs may not be as physically demanding as an athlete’s, we still have to be at our very best so we can function properly in our day to day life.


Is it rest that you need in order to improve your athletic performance? With the right bed, you can completely change they quality of the sleep that you experience. At The Mattress Warehouse, we have a vast selection of great bed products that are waiting for you to choose from. Pay us a visit or shop online to buy your new bed.