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The importance of sleep for athletes

September 03, 2021 3 min read

The importance of sleep for athletes

This article is an automatic translation from our Original French blog. This text may contain translation errors. Thank you for your understanding.

Experienced sportsmen and women have very busy schedules, but to achieve a good result it is important to take time for yourself, especially to rest. A sportsman or woman is supposed to know his or her limits and to give himself or herself a restful sleep. Discover through this article the importance of sleep when you are a sportsman.


Sleep duration varies from one athlete to another. For a normal adult, it is recommended to sleep 7 hours a day. However, it must be emphasised that the quality of sleep is as important as the duration. Indeed, some sportsmen and women sleep only 5 or 6 hours, but go through long and deep sleep cycles, hence their ability to recover more than those who experience a long sleep cycle of up to 8 or 9 hours. You should therefore be able to determine your sleep needs, in order to know your own biological rhythm, bearing in mind that a restful sleep is one that allows you to wake up feeling good, full of energy, fitness and dynamism. A sportsman or woman who sleeps badly or not enough will always experience an effect of this sleep insufficiency on his or her physical performance during exercises and training sessions. But apparently, according to studies, too much sleep is not good for sportsmen and women either. The ideal is to have a good deep sleep.


Sleep is a crucial success factor for athletes. For example, professional long-distance triathletes need 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night and a 1-2 hour nap after morning training. Similarly, getting enough sleep is also a way to optimise muscle recovery to allow the body to prepare for the next session. This is because during sleep, the production of growth hormone is promoted. This is important to maintain the intensity of physical activity and exercise. Otherwise, the body can enter the overtraining phase. Similarly, the production of the anti-inflammatory hormone (cortisol), which is supposed to be released in the morning, is not possible, which is why fatigue also occurs. In any case, sleep is an important factor in the regulation of hormones and in the recovery of athletes. In addition, adequate sleep strengthens the athlete's immune system and prevents infections. Sleeping well when you are an athlete is also a way of controlling the hormones associated with hunger and satiety to enable you to keep your weight in proportion to your size.

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Rest time during the night is essential for the circulation of growth hormones. These are the hormones that allow muscle tissue to develop properly and are produced during deep sleep. These muscles are very useful to you as an athlete. The deep cycle also allows your body to relax, especially after a hard day of exercise. Sport requires strength and energy from you. That is why this energy must be recovered. When should this be done? Of course during sleep and naps. The good circulation of growth hormones shows that the body is healthy. A sportsman should therefore never neglect sleep. A healthy, efficient and robust athlete is the result of good quality sleep.


Anyone can be a good sportsman for a day, but staying fit for a long time is not for everyone. Getting stronger and performing better every day is not a luxury that everyone has access to. Being strong and powerful during the day is fine, but preserving that energy is the ongoing challenge for athletes. According to research, sleep optimises energy. It offers incredible vitality to a sportsman if it is well respected. Generally, after a physical effort, a sportsman or woman will fall asleep again very quickly. The hours of sleep are the times when energy is recharged. An athlete is like a smartphone, he can perform well, but if his energy cannot last, his performance is worthless. So he needs to be recharged to be even more efficient the next day or during the next training sessions and to have the necessary energy for that.


To preserve your sleep as an athlete, avoid training during the 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Physical activity too close to bedtime can cause you to fall asleep late. In your bedroom, avoid light sources and choose good bedding. Finally, after an intense workout, a long nap of 90 minutes is recommended to recover faster.