Monitoring sleep is invaluable for a coach

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Metrifit Athlete Monitoring Software

studentsleepingThe life of a modern student athlete may be a very exciting one in terms of competing at new levels or learning new concepts in the classroom, as well as having an increasingly busy social life. However, with that comes a lot of pressure, particularly in terms of time as they try to juggle classroom commitments with training, and at the same time try to maintain a healthy social life. With such a busy schedule, it can, at times, be difficult to keep up the standards required in terms of the vital areas of study, training and nutrition. Another very important aspect of a student’s life, is sleep and unfortunately that is often the area that is first to be sacrificed when the pressure comes on. As a result, being able to monitor the sleep patterns of a student would be invaluable not only to the individual themselves, but also their coach and tutors.

Sleep should be a priority

In many ways it is understandable that as students attempt to fit everything into their busy day, sleep becomes less of a priority. However, they need to learn that not getting sufficient sleep can have drastic consequences for both academic and athletic ambitions. In Sleep and Recovery we are reminded of the importance of sleep in terms of training, training effect, recovery and performance, with mental and physical sharpness directly linked to sleep.

All sport requires the ability to process information very quickly and react. Athletes also need to have high levels of focus and motivation. These functions will be impaired without adequate sleep. Minimal sleep can also decrease glucose metabolism which fuels the brain and the body for mental and physical performance. Immune function can also be impaired which puts athletes at a greater risk for sickness.
When athletes fail to sleep enough (less than 8 hours per night), the body fails to produce the adequate amount of testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone which allows athletes to build muscle and gain training effect from difficult workouts. The most significant factor in the brain and CNS functioning at an optimal level is that it is well rested

Fuel for body and mind

Having your body and brain in peak condition to train and compete is vital for an athlete, but of equal importance for a student is that their brain is also fully prepared for the challenges in the classroom. Lack of Sleep Leads to Poor Academic Performance spells out just how important sleep is for performance in exams.

We all know that young children need sleep and routines and so we have bedtimes. But, as children get older, we tend to forget that their brains and bodies are still growing and that they need more sleep than adults. Studies show that teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep. Without proper sleep, memory and the ability to concentrate as well as higher cognitive functioning is severely affected. This means that when your teen pulls an all-nighter to study for exams, they are setting themselves up for a poor performance on exam day. A survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of high school students suffered from extreme daytime fatigue which caused them to regularly fall asleep in class. They attributed this to the average of 6.5 hours of sleep that the students we getting.

A good night’s sleep for student athletes also highlights other factors that may arise due to lack of sleep and they include depression and injury.

A decrease in sleep can also lead to other side effects, such as depression. This is easy to see especially when added with the stress factor. When students are worried about test scores, practice, and their social life, that anxiety can lead to poor sleep, which can lead to depression. Not only does sleep affect a student’s academic and athletic performance, but a lack of sleep may lead to a greater risk for injury

How Metrifit uses sleep

sleep graph
As with most things involving training and studying, the idea of ‘prevention is better than cure’ is important and being able to deal with sleep deprivation before it becomes a major factor would be a great benefit to students coaches, tutors and parents. Part of our daily questionnaire in Metrifit asks athletes about their sleep quality and their sleep duration. It is important to have insight on both of these as optimum sleep duration can vary between individuals. What we look for is a change / deviation from normal sleep patterns and also co-relation between sleep and other important factors such as mood, health, energy levels and stress. Keeping track of these key factors and how they influence each other is a core part of athlete monitoring within Metrifit.

Tips for getting better sleep

For a few tips to tips on how to prioritise rest and help your athletic and academic performance we can look to A good night’s sleep for student athletes, which suggests the following:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Wake up at the same time on the weekends as you do weekdays
  • Eat a large meal at night, about three hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as both can lead to less restful sleep
  • Develop healthy ways to manage stress
  • Exercise should take place earlier in the day, no later than four hours before bedtime
  • Nap if feeling drowsy, but for no longer than 30 minutes

For more information you can download our useful factsheet on Sleep and the Athlete.

About Metrifit

Metrifit is an athlete monitoring system that gathers subjective and objective information from both coaches and athletes to drive behavior modification and improvement through insights modeled on descriptive and predictive analytics. It sounds complicated but Metrifit prides itself on its simple intuitive interface and advocates a simple effective approach that doesn’t overwhelm the athlete or the coaching/staff member. It has received high praise for its intuitive interface and it allows monitoring to be scaled for all levels of athletes and teams. Recent research by Anna Saw (Deakin University, Australia) has shown that use of Metrifit is associated with increased athlete sporting self-confidence. Metrifit is ‘athlete-centric’ helping to develop self-awareness, encourage creative thinking and emotional intelligence as well as developing ownership and responsibility within the athlete for their own success.

 
To find out more information please visit Metrifit Overview or contact us at

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References
Sleep and Recovery: An applicable approach to a lifestyle of recovery and rest for athletes by John Underwood: Director Life of an Athlete, Human Performance Project, Keara White: Research Assistant
Lack of Sleep Leads to Poor Academic Performance | www.tutordoctor.com
A good night’s sleep for student athletes
We as student-athletes need more sleep than average by Austin Colbert