The Foundation of Health and Performance
I saw this tweet from legendary baseball coach Tom House:
Snarkiness aside, he makes a pretty good point, and so…
In this week’s 3 Point’s, I’ll discuss the impact sleep has on cognitive performance, and why coaches should walk the walk when it comes to investing in sleep.
1. The impact that sleep has on cognitive performance is pretty clear. A review of the effects of sleep deprivation and cognitive performance found that a “lack of sleep has a profound effect on several aspects of cognitive functioning, including simple alertness and attention” .
Additionally, “another profound effect of sleep loss is mood and emotional dysregulation. Sleep deprived individuals tend to be more irritable, prone toward negative mood, less empathic, and more willing to assign blame to others.”
So, how would you feel going into a game if you knew your decision making would be slower, poorer and riskier? And if you were more irritable, negative and likely to blame others?
“Sleep is THE foundation of our mental and physical health and performance in all endeavors” - Stanford Neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman
2. Generally speaking, coaches trust the importance of sleep for athletic performance. It’s monitored and emphasized by coaches and trainers for the athletes, however, I’m not sure how often it’s modeled. The science is clear, sleep matters not just for athletes, but for coaches who want to perform when it matters.
According to former NFL sport psychologist and current Golden State Warriors Sport Psychologist, Dr. Scott Goldman, “the coaches are more sleep deprived [than athletes]. There are at least some rules in place for the players as far as the amount of time in the building. There are no such rules protecting coaches.”
He further explains, “I’ve been with NFL teams where they bought the Oura Ring for biomonitoring and the coaches used it in reverse almost as a brag. They were competing for who had the lowest score. It became evidence that actually doing the things that help breed mental stability were considered a bad thing, as if coaches who were getting the proper amount of recovery were not dedicated to the craft.”
I understand the rigors of coaching. I know that in the midst of the season it never feels like there are enough hours in the day. My aim here is for you to consider the costs and benefits of sacrificing sleep. Is burning the midnight oil worth what you will sacrifice in attention, mood and emotional stability? Sometimes the answer may be yes, sometimes no, but it is worth your consideration.
3. Some simple actionable items to help you sleep once you’ve prioritized it from Stanford Neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman (you can view his entire sleep toolkit here):
Keep the room you sleep in cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove.
Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime.
Limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all.
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