According to a study at Stanford University, California, getting some extra shut-eye could improve your fitness and athletic performance.
Researchers asked swimmers to stick to their normal sleep patterns of five to seven hours a night for two weeks and then to extend their sleep to ten hours a night for a further six weeks.
With the extra sleep, the swimmers swam a 15m sprint an average of 0.5 seconds faster.
They displayed quicker reaction and turning times in the pool as well.
‘Our results show what a significant factor sleep is in enhancing athletic performance,’ says Dr Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic which led the study.
‘Many athletes accumulate a large sleep debt which can have detrimental effects on cognitive function, mood and reactions.’
Similar results were found when basketball players, runners and tennis players were subjected to different amounts of sleep.
‘Many of our participants have set multiple new personal records while participating in this study,’ Mah says.
Her advice to those who work out regularly is to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night and to keep a regular sleep-wake cycle, going to bed and waking up at the same times of the day.
Source: Mail On Sunday