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How Much Sleep Do High School Athletes Need?
We’re based in the Hudson Valley. Known for many things, including the legend of Rip Van Winkle. Quite appropriate if you ask me considering I want to talk about sleep. Specifically how most of us need more of it, especially our youth athletes. I can guarantee most people will laugh if they think they need more than 8 hours if they are remotely active in their lives. And our adolescent athletes need even more. How much you say? Glad you asked…
Get your a** into bed!
Seriously. In my last blog, I discussed my three “tricks” for youth athletes. In addition to eating and hydrating properly, sleep was the next big item. As much as people want to know the latest and greatest advancements in sports, I promise you there is no better performance trick than getting lots of sleep. Even though it’s well into the 21st century, there isn’t any magical advancement to make up for this recovery tool. Forget about what pill comes in a bottle, or what new fancy foam roller or class you can pay for…adequate sleep is all the magic you need to rise above your peers.
I can say this confidently because I know youth schedules nowadays. I’ve seen enough of you in my office to know that you’re not eating enough, you’re not sleeping enough, you’re stressed about school and sports, and you’re training A LOT. So just get your butt into bed. Get off your phones, get your work done at a reasonable time, and get more sleep. That will elevate your physical capabilities to levels you didn’t even know you had in you. It’s the best way to recover, and the best way to perform at your top level is by ensuring proper recovery. So how much do you need?
Male and female athletes aged 8-16 years old need 9.5 – 10 hours of quality sleep per night. In addition, a 30-minute nap in the mid-afternoon is helpful.
Male and female athletes aged 15-23+ years old need 8 – 10 hours of quality sleep per night and will also benefit greatly from a short mid-afternoon nap.
I hope you read those numbers and start to reflect on your own habits and schedules. I know it may seem like a daunting task, but it is what’s necessary if you want to perform at a high level. Ditch those screens before bedtime so you can actually fall into a deep sleep. Make your room and bed a comfortable setting for you. Create a good nighttime routine to start to get your brain into sleep mode. These are all things that facilitate a healthy sleep routine for your personal fitness gain.
I’m willing to bet most of you don’t get 10 quality hours of sleep, and certainly don’t make use of a 30 min afternoon nap. But if you want to maximize your performance and decrease your risk of injuries, it might be time to make some changes. I promise you’ll like the results.