Sleep is a wonderful thing but did you know that it can make or break your athletic performance? Whether you're already a varsity cheerleader or you're thinking about going to a cheerleading tryout, you need to examine your sleeping habits if you want to shine your brightest!
So, why do we need to sleep anyway? For your body to completely recover from the day's activities and stresses, proper hydration, healthy food full of nutrients, and sleep are the three things needed to bring you back into tip-top shape for the next new day. While your body is recharging at night, a growth hormone is released that helps build and repair muscles, build strong bones and burn fat. Without getting a good night's sleep that includes a deep sleep, the body produces less of this hormone, and that has a direct affect on how well you'll perform athletically. The REM stage of sleeping energizes both your brain and your body, so without sleep, you'll be walking around like a tired zombie. That's sure to have an impact on your cheerleading training. Well-rested athletes have demonstrated a higher degree of accuracy, so consider the impact it could have on your squad if you are a little off because of your sleeping habits! Good, consistent sleep is also necessary for learning new skills. Are you struggling with learning new routines? Maybe a lack of good sleep is the culprit.
Generally speaking, athletes who get more sleep perform better. In fact, getting the right amount of sleep has such a large impact on athletic performance that it is just as important as physical conditioning and good eating habits. Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in the body's energy stores, making it difficult to get the most out of practices and to perform well in competitions. Without sleep, you will not reach your peak!
To get the right amount of high-quality sleep, make sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time each night and day. Consistency in sleeping patterns produces a much higher quality type of sleep that will have you ready to tackle the day when you wake up. Think of sleeping as part of your cheerleading training. If you make sleep a priority, you're more likely to get better sleep and perform better, too. Hold off on any caffeinated drinks like sodas, energy drinks and coffee. It goes without saying that caffeine can really wreak havoc on your sleep! When you do go to bed, try not to go to bed starving or stuffed. This will prevent you from sleeping well because it causes discomfort. And, as hard as this one might seem, avoid looking at any screens, like the TV or your phone, before going to sleep. Studies have shown that watching TV or staring at a computer screen interfere with sleep. Now, with all of that being said, don't stress out if you have one sleepless night before a big day. As long as you practice good sleeping habits regularly, one night won't throw your cheerleading career off.