The top ten percent of the best performing athletes have not reached their full potential—or at least, recent research could make a stimulating argument that such is the case. Researcher Cheri Mah conducted sleep studies on Stanford’s athletes for years documenting their performance in correlation to their sleep habits. The same athletes who, on eight hours of sleep, could have an impact on the field (or court) broke personal records when they moved to a ten-hour sleep schedule. Compounded with the understanding that quality of sleep improves performance, athletes might want to consider getting mattress pads and toppers for their beds.
The athletic edge to make a team is just as trying as competing to get the best sleep possible. If coaches, mentors, and athletes teamed up to stress the importance of sleep, maybe the use of performance enhancing drugs would dwindle in the coming years. Mah documented that extra sleep enabled the athletes that were in her tests to run faster, move quicker, shoot, pass, dodge and just about every other activity, better. Compared to the same athlete’s play on an adequate eight-hour night, there was well over ten point increase in production.
The research suggests that sports players might want to consider investing in their bedrooms rather than a new pair of shoes. Improving existing bedding with mattress pads and toppers cannot prevent shin splints, but it can help them heal faster. The key to more sleep is the body’s ability to produce the chemicals that promote healing. Doctor Setu Vora showed that athletes who slept adequately healed even more quickly than those who took medications but were underslept. So, the next time a group of sports fans are let down by their team losing the title game, they should ask themselves if their favorite players are getting enough rest.