My name is Shawn Matsunaga. As an athlete, wouldn’t you want to 1) Improve your reaction time 2) Reduce your injury rate and improve overall health 3) Prolong your playing career 4) Increase your accuracy and faster sprint times 5) Commit fewer mental errors? If your answer is yes, one of the first things to come to mind might be some sort of supplement or performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). If that crossed your mind, think again. It’s free and most of us don’t get enough of it. This wonder drug is SLEEP.

Sleep deprivation is known to reduce reaction time significantly. A single all-nighter can reduce reaction time greater than 300%! A study conducted at the University of California concluded that injury rates in youth athletes increased during games where athletes slept fewer than 6 hours. Lack of sleep impairs performance. Sleep is vital to restore your muscle and brain cells. Sleep loss impairs judgment, and has a negative effect on decision making, risk taking, moral reasoning and inhibitions.

In closing, sleep is needed not only for optimal performance, but optimal health. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t catch up on your sleep. Your best ergogenic aid is sleep. So, if you want to perform better and increase your overall health get your ZZZZZZZZ’s!

For details and references go to ways sleep impacts peak athletic performance.