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How to Win

Sleep Deprivation

To function at peak level, student-athletes need their physical mental and emotional health.

We work on their diet, their skills and their mental game, but never say much about the one-third of their lives that means so much — the eight hours when they should be sleeping.

An article in U.S. News and World Report outlines the many dangers of sleep deprivation, including the chance it can shorten a lifetime.

According to the article, “Studies have linked chronic sleep loss to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and shorter lives in people and laboratory animals.”

At a time when people are under so much financial pressure, the one thing they need to keep them healthy — sleep — is often the first thing to get thrown out.

Same way for student-athletes. Under pressure to perform in the gym and in the classroom, they give up sleep to attend to immediate tasks like practice and study for tests.

But few things are more immediate than the need for sleep. I once saw a video (can’t remember the title) that made this point: Nature views sleep as so important that is willing to let you be helpless for eight hours a day. That’s pretty important.

As coaches, we must remind our student-athletes about the importance of sleep. If they’re being called upon to attend to many urgent tasks — and they are — remind them about forming priorities and about time-management.

Please share this information with coaching colleagues, athletic directors and school trainers.


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