Polo players work hard to win and with the new wave of training and diet, everybody has raised their competitive edge. But there’s something they might overlook: getting an extra hour of sleep.
Sleep is when your body repairs itself. If we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t perform well.
How much sleep do polo players need? Most people need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. If you’re competing, you may need more. Just as any athlete needs more calories than most people when they’re competing, they need more sleep, too. You’re pushing your body in practices, games and training, so you need more time to recover.
During tournament times players should sleep about an hour extra. You can go to sleep earlier, or take an afternoon nap.
The fact of not getting enough sleep doesn’t only make you tired the next day, but it has a big impact on what’s happening inside your body. Studies have found clear evidence that increasing sleep has real benefits for athletes. One study tracked the Stanford University basketball team for several months. Players added an average of almost 2 hours of sleep a night. The results? Players increased their speed by 5%. Their free throws were 9% more accurate. They had faster reflexes and felt happier. Other studies have shown similar benefits for football players and other athletes.
Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone, cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.
According to the fastest person ever timed “Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body”, Usain Bolt.
So there you go, another area of our lifestyle that needs improvement and special care. Consider getting some quality sleep and get your energy up to the top.
Until then stay active and keep healthy!
Your Fitness for Polo trainer,