The Sleep Equation
Like all elite athletes, swimmers (even very young ones) need to make healthy life choices to prevent illness, injury and other problems. This includes obvious things like nutrition, hydration and vitamins, and one very fundamental thing that even serious athletes often overlook… Sleep.
According to The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), “Sleep powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system in the body”, but how much sleep do young swimmers need?
After reviewing hundreds of validated research studies about sleep, the NSF recommended children 6-13 years old need 9-11 hours of sleep each night, and that individuals who “have a high level of daily energy expenditure” (like at swim practice) may need even more.
Are your swimmers getting enough sleep at night? If not, here are three simple tips the NSF gives for improving sleep:
Stick to the same sleep schedule every day, even on weekends.
Practice a relaxing pre-bed routine to make it easier to fall asleep quickly.
Disconnect from electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops for a half-hour or more before bed.