Between school, homework, practice, games, family, and friends, student athletes have a lot to juggle — it’s hard to even imagine squeezing nine hours of sleep into their busy day. But sleep is crucial for any teen, let alone a student athlete. Athletes should think of sleep like calories; we all need it, but if you’re a student athlete or youth soccer player, you need just a little bit more. To make sure your athlete is getting enough sleep, it’s important to know just how much sleep they should be getting, how sleep can affect their performance, and what steps they can take to prioritize restful sleep.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
It’s recommended that teens get roughly nine hours of sleep a night. A good rule of thumb is that an athlete should aim for an extra hour of sleep on top of what’s recommended, meaning student athletes should be aiming for ten hours of sleep a night. While ten hours of sleep may seem impossible, this is crucial to an athlete’s performance and well-being. Sleep is the time when your body recovers, and because athletes push their bodies during practice, they need more time to recover. Insufficient sleep can not only affect your teen’s performance the next day, but also lead to fatigue, stress, and increased injuries. In comparison, a sufficient amount of sleep can increase concentration, happiness, and athletic performance.
How Can Teens Make Rest a Priority?
There are a few steps your athlete can take to prioritize restful sleep. The easiest thing to do is to simply go to bed an hour earlier. However, in a world of late night practices, group projects, and take-home tests, going to bed an hour early may not be an option. Luckily, there are other healthy habits your athlete can practice to get enough sleep!
The most difficult habit to stick to is keeping a consistent sleep schedule. It also helps to avoid caffeine, as it can disrupt your teen’s sleep schedule. The same goes for sleep aids unless they’ve been prescribed by a doctor. Encourage your child to rely on natural relaxation techniques, such as using a lavender spray to promote relaxation, or even falling asleep with earplugs or a sleep mask if noises and lights are a distraction.
Sleep is a crucial to any student’s health, but for a student athlete or youth soccer player, a good night’s sleep can be the difference between a good game and a winning goal. For more healthy tips, like the right way to fuel up for a game or how to stay hydrated, check out our blog.