The Importance of Sleep for Student Athletes and Soccer Recruits

January 19, 2012
by Justin

Welcome to The Golden Boot, a sport-specific training resource provided to you by ScoutMe for Soccer Recruits. The first article was Shoe Science for Soccer and the second was about the myth of the high school offseason. This week will go into the importance of student athletes and soccer recruits getting proper sleep.


According to The National Sleep Organization, chronic sleep deprivation significantly affects your health, performance, safety, and pocketbook. There are several causes of sleep deprivation; everyday life may intrude upon our capacity to sleep soundly, or perhaps we trade sleep for more homework or soccer practice. There is also the aspect of medical or mental-health conditions that disturb our sleep, and it is imperative that you are well aware if you are sleep-deprived. There is no need to worry though; the @HempsteadHuddle has got you covered. Here are a few tips I have found to be effective in not only maintaining but also decreasing fatigue from sleep deprivation.


Sleeping is one of the most important aspects of the performance of student athletes and soccer recruits. I have sleep apnea myself, and I was diagnosed after my freshman year of college, six months after I was out of season as a student athlete. I had horrible sleeping patterns and had a true battle with insomnia (which plenty of student athletes battle with) due to my sleep apnea. The process had me in a fog and was one of the issues that cause a drop in my grades during my second semester.


Ask yourself these questions; after a typical night’s sleep, do you feel restored and refreshed or sleepy during the day? Are you dragging during soccer practice? You could be sleep-deprived or have a sleep disorder. Now stress is a natural part of life as a soccer recruit and student athlete, but you can control the amount of sleep you have. Please understand that a lack of consciousness compounds the consequences, because like me, numerous student athletes remain undiagnosed for years.


Have you ever stayed up for 24 hours straight or more? If you have you know that your body and your mind experiences high-levels of fatigue. The mental fatigue can build over a period or be the result of an extreme circumstance like the aforementioned situation. According to the NSO, the average American only gets 7.5 hours of sleep a night. The truth is that student athletes and soccer recruits need at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night. If you get this proper amount of sleep or REM sleep, you as a student athletes will be able to recover more efficiently, from whatever soccer workout you have to deal with. REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the deepest level of sleep a functioning human can achieve. During REM sleep, you are able to have dreams and your eyes move at a rapid pace, hence the designation REM sleep. When you do sleep, you should turn off you TV (yes even the soccer match from Europe), and if you listen to music, only listen to classical or jazz music; something that soothes as oppose to startles.


Have you ever pulled an all-nighter before a big test? One last thing; all-night cram sessions are not as effective as you think they are. According to the NSO, after you reach a certain level of sleep deprivation, you reduce your comprehension down to that of a preschooler. It is actually better for you to take a five-hour nap, wake up, and then study. Another way to avoid sleep deprivation is to take a siesta or mid-day nap. The mid-day nap is effective in recharging your batteries after a tough soccer practice or in a layoff in between class.


Good luck with your high school soccer offseason, and make sure that when you step on the soccer field, you leave everything there. Check back for another installment of The Golden Boot. Until then, this has been The Golden Boot, and I am Yorick Hempstead signing off.




Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.



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