Many of the world's greatest athletes eat, sleep, breathe, and live for their sport. But did you know that in addition to physical conditioning and conscious eating, sleep plays a major role in athletic performance and competitive results?
A recent study published in the journal SLEEP found that extremes of sleep duration are related to increases in abdominal fat in persons younger than 40 years old. Researchers found that persons sleeping less than five hours at night gained more abdominal fat over a five year period, versus those who averaged over six hours per night.
Athletes who extended their sleep to 10 hours each night experienced improved performance and mood, according to a study presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Researchers at Stanford University asked five healthy students on the Stanford women’s tennis team to maintain their normal sleep/wake cycle for two to three weeks, then extend their sleep for five to six weeks.