Apr 27, 2016
Better Performance Through Better Sleep

With a travel schedule that can include playing in various time zones, getting enough sleep can be a challenge for NHL players. Add in the 82-game in-season schedule, and the importance of sleep may seem increasingly apparent.

An article from the NY Times explains that many NHL franchises have shifted a focus onto players’ sleep quality and quantity. As a result, some teams have changed how and when they practice—sometimes letting morning skates go by the wayside.

“There’s a point where you’re going to your leadership group and asking them: ‘Should we be on the ice today? Should we be off the ice today? Should we be away from the rink today? What should we do tonight?'” L.A. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter told the NY Times.

Along with helping players maintain energy and stamina, sleep is also linked with quickness, strength, and testosterone levels. For example, if a player only gets four hours of sleep each night for a week, testosterone levels are reduced by about the same amount as would be seen in 11 years of aging.

“Over all, there is growing interest in sleep from teams across all the leagues as proper sleep is frequently sacrificed and overlooked,” Cheri Mah, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco told the NY Times. “However, it can have a significant impact on peak performance and overall health. In my opinion, it is one of the most untapped areas of sports performance.”

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