Increasing Game Intelligence with Sleep!

Sleep and Athletic Performance

“Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body” – Usain Bolt.

“We’re teaching our players: Sleep is a weapon. Society is learning this too, how important sleep is and how dangerous sleep deprivation is.” – Sam Ramsden, Seattle Seahawks


Sleep and Athletic Performance Facts:


  • Athletes experience exhaustion in endurance type sports 11% quicker when they are sleep deprived
  • Two days of sleep reduction can reduce an athlete’s attention span and ability to react up to 3X
  • Sleep extension, upwards of 10 hours of sleep per/night, has been shown to improve swimmers reaction time off the starting block by 17%
  • After four days of reduced sleep, athletes have dropped 20lbs off of their maximum bench press
  • Athlete’s with extended sleep dropped .10 of a second off their 40-yard dash time
  • Lack of sleep caused athletes to make worse split-second decisions
  • Athletes who had extended sleep or were considered well rested, increased their accuracy in sports specific skills
  • A singe all-nighter can reduce reaction times by 300%
  • Injury rates increased in games that followed a night of 6 hours or less of sleep
  • Studies have shown that “hours of sleep” are better predictors of injury rates, then even the number of practice hours in high school sports
  • Less sleep increases the amount of fatigue and the stress hormone cortisol
  • When the body is fatigued it is more susceptible to injury. The nervous system can become impaired, delaying the contraction of muscles during the needed times, leaving ligaments and tendons open to injury
  • Post-game recovery is slowed with a lack of sleep
  • Lack of sleep will lower the athlete’s immune system, making them open to potential illness
  • Over the course of a season, irregular sleep conditions will wear down athletes, causing an increase in injuries and decrease performance levels
  • Proper sleep (8+ hours) leads to the natural increase and release of human growth hormone, this enhances recovery rates and improves performance
  • There is a direct correlation between shortened playing careers and consistent fatigue levels, with lack of sleep being a major cause of fatigue
  • There is a direct correlation between sleep and sports performance
  • Sleep loss impairs judgement, decision making, focus, memory, moral reasoning, ability to rationalize risk taking and manage impulse reactions
  • Lack of sleep disrupts the body’s ability to store glycogen. This may be why a lack of sleep decreases endurance exercise to exhaustion by 11%
  • Basketball players that extended their sleep time to around 10 hours, increased their shooting accuracy by 9% and sprinting times increased as well. Similar results with tennis players showed increased power and accuracy of shots
  • Over the course of a baseball season, pro players “plate discipline” decreased as the season progressed. The suspected reason for this is fatigue, from a long grueling 162 game schedule, that involves consistent traveling with various sleep conditions.  Lack of consistent quality sleep is one of the contributing factors for the accumulation of fatigue and lack of “plate discipline”.
  • Athletes who need to maintain a certain bodyweight will have trouble staying fit and lean with a lack of sleep
  • Napping has huge benefits for increasing performance
  • Reducing sleep to less than 6 hours per/night for four or more consecutive nights will impair cognitive functioning and mood
  • After a 30-minute nap, short sprint performance increased, compared to no nap.
  • After a 30-minute nap, alertness went up and sleepiness went down
  • After a 90-minute nap cognitive abilities increased


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