Surprising Way Sleep and Sports Injuries are Related
We all know how important sleep is. Adults generally need 7 to 9 hours of sleep but, some only need as few as 6 hours as other may require as much as 10 hours of sleep each night. Infants require about 14-15 hours of sleep a day and teenagers need about 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night. What if there was a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and sports injuries, especially in young athletes?
Today’s lifestyle is quite hectic for all of us. Teenagers today have a lot of pressure on them with the demands of school, homework, social life, and extracurricular activities. Add to that social media, videogames, cell phones, computers, and other forms of technology that take up their time throughout the day. With trying to balance out daily obligations and of course the extra stresses that come along with being a teenager, it’s no surprise that teenagers don’t get enough sleep, and teenage athletes especially need their sleep.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), teens who slept at least eight hours each night have a 68% lower risk of sports injury compared to those who regularly slept less. Researchers from the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles enlisted 112 student athletes (54 male and 58 female) to complete a survey about their sleep and activity levels. The findings showed that hours of sleep per night were significantly associated with a decreased likelihood of injury. In addition, the higher the grade level of the athlete, the greater likelihood of injury if sleep was deprived.
Athletes who haven’t had enough sleep lose their ability to pay attention for any length of time. Concentration is a basic necessity in all sports, so it poses a real problem in both safely playing a position and keeping with the flow of the game. Another problem associated with the lack of sleep in athletes is reaction time, because lack of an attention span and concentration has a direct impact on the brain’s ability to process information. It’s hard to get of the way of a defender or tackler if you can’t quickly process your reaction. The cardiovascular system is also affected by sleep. Cardiovascular function reduces with a lack of sleep and that not only increases mistakes made, but also increases the risk of injuries.
A great way for teens to avoid injury this season and in seasons to come is to make sure they are getting enough sleep. Sometimes injuries cannot be avoided, and if that is the case, Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine can help get you back on the field, court, track, or rink. We offer services such as sports medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic, and more. Contact us for an appointment to learn more about preventing sports injuries and treating them too.