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What a Little Extra Sleep Can Do for an Athlete

What a Little Extra Sleep Can Do for an Athlete

According to new book, just an additional hour of sleep can make a huge difference in how well professional athletes compete. James B. Maas, Ph.D., and Haley A. Davis published the findings in their new book, called, “Sleep to Win!” Mass said that he and his team select professional athletes, and, “give them one more hour of sleep, we make sure every night, they’re getting a good night’s sleep;” he continued, “these people are amazed at what happens, that their performance actually improvers, when they add that one more hour of sleep.”

Often times, athletes competing at a professional level have to commit to practicing twice a day. Usually this means rising very early in the morning, and can therefore be disrupting to their sleep schedule. Maas described nixing the early practice, in exchange for more sleep, and the results, he and his colleagues saw, “their times go up, their reaction time improves.”

Particularly interesting was the relationship between muscle-memory and sleep. Maas contends that if you’ve perfected, say a golf swing, and, “if you sleep eight hours that night, your performance, your motor muscle memory goes up; averages 20% increase in performance time.” Many studies have related sleep to committing information to memory—but not necessarily muscle-memory. That makes this particularly interesting.

Even if you’re not an athlete, this goes to show how much a little more sleep could help all of us. Sticking to it is the genius, and each night you dedicate time to go to sleep earlier, you’re forming a new habit!

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