"SLEEP....Chief nourisher in life's feast" (Shakespeare)
How have you been? Busy???
Well, that is March and April! Hectic months for busy families and especially families with kids involved in sport. Not only is first term a looooong term, but summer sport is finishing, plus finals, winter sport pre-season ramping up, trial games, carnivals, sports days, athletic competitions and weekends that just beg for skiing up the river or days at the beach. Yes, busy!!!
So how is everyone going with sleep?
This is perhaps not something you expect a physio to ask, but we see teenage athletes quite frequently at this time of year, trying to manage their schedules and worried about niggles or even significant injuries. Whilst we all know that load (or how ‘busy’ and intense your sporting schedule is) can impact soreness and injury, did you know that SLEEP is a critical factor? Most of us will recognise that getting a good night sleep will make us all feel better but did you know it can have a real impact on performance? And is even MORE important for juvenile/teenage athletes than any other group?
A recent study (Insufficient Sleep in Young Athletes? Causes, Consequences, and Potential Treatments Jordan L. Fox1,2 · Aaron T. Scanlan1,2 · Robert Stanton1,3 · Charli Sargent3) makes these Key Points:
Training and competition schedules that reduce time in bed contribute to young athletes not attaining the recommended 7–10 h of sleep per night.
Habitual sleep duration less than 8 h per night increases musculoskeletal injury risk in young athletes.
An increase in sleep duration above habitual nightly sleep duration may enhance performance in young athletes.
So not only does sleep help performance, it can also reduce risk of musculoskeletal injury. This is why we ask ALL our clients about their sleep habits, but we are especially interested in how your young athletes are going in this area.
Do your teens get 8 hours or more each night? Do you factor in extra sleep as part of recovery during training, or in preparation for big events?