Sleep is the best performance enhancing supplement there is. Your performance is essentially a product of your sleep quality. The best part is it’s free and 100 percent in your control. Now, every athlete has had a curfew set for the team by their coach. There in fact is a reason for your coach wanting you in bed early.
Getting a good night’s sleep has been proven to improve reaction time and focus. Hockey is a fast paced game therefore quick reaction time is essential for all players on the ice in situations like getting a quick shot off in the slot, when the play changes direction, or trying to step around a player. Having that good night’s sleep will also improve one’s focus. Coaches are constantly nagging their players to focus. When you are sleepy you tend to zone out and not focus on the task at hand. Being well rested will allow you to focus on the play, making fewer mental errors. However, having a good night’s sleep the night before a game is not good enough. You must be getting enough sleep every night of the week. All it takes is one night of not getting enough sleep to throw you off for the week. If you lack sleep one night it can take up to three days to recover from it. Your reaction time and focus requires adequate sleep every night.
Sleep should be every hockey player’s priority as it simply keeps you healthy. Sleep prevents injuries and improves your immune system. Lack of sleep can cause muscle breakdown, something no athlete ever wants. Sleep is key for recovery. It allows for athletes to rejuvenate and rebuild their muscles of the wear and tear from training and competing. Intense physical activity is hard on your immune system so your immune system has to work double being an athlete, it fights against illnesses and has to recover from exercise. Therefore, sleep is essential to keeping your immune system strong, otherwise you will wind up constantly getting sick. We all know what it’s like competing while you’re sick, no fun!
Sleep sure does put you in a better mood and gives you energy, however, it also makes you a better hockey player. Getting at least eight hours a sleep every night should be your top priority. Sleep is in your control so use it to your advantage!