Athletes and Sleep

Athletes must be sure they obtain the highest quality and quantity of sleep to ensure they are both performing and recovering well to enhance their future performance. It has been shown that lack of sleep has negative effects on nearly every facet of an athlete’s performance. Reaction times, cognitive ability, and injury rates are negatively impacted. As Physical Therapists, we aim to improve an individual’s performance capabilities as well as decrease their injury rate. Therefore, sleep is a critical component to the success an athlete has, specifically as a throwing athlete. Learn how sleep enhances athletic performance below.

8-10 hours

It has been shown that individuals need between 8-10 hours of sleep per night to promote proper rest and rehabilitation. For athletes, this is also essential in allowing for recovery from the stresses of throwing and training. Studies have shown proper sleep aids our immune which allows us to focus more time on field performance. 1
To promote proper sleep hygiene, individuals should implement proper sleep habits. To begin with, individuals must create a consistent sleep schedule to allow the body to adapt to these changes and get into a routine. Our human body has a circadian rhythm that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. When our bodies are on a sleep-wake cycle, this allows for the human brain to release melatonin, consistently to improve overall sleep.

Sleeping in a cool and quiet space 

An additional way to improve the quality of sleep to maximize performance is to make sure sleeping areas are cool and dark. It has been shown that the ideal sleeping temperature is between 60-67 degrees. Check the thermostat to make sure it is within this range. We also want to make sure the room is dark. Even when light hits our closed eyelids this prompts the brain to wake up during its sleep cycle. Disturbances in your sleep due to light impact the sleep cycle. It is also important to be mindful that the sleeping room should be quiet. A quiet, dark setting for sleep will help contribute to an optimal sleep cycle. 

Throwing a ball for the overhead athlete is very stressful to the human body itself. Athletes should be taking every way possible to ensure maximal safety as well as taking every opportunity to improve their performance. Sleep is one of these aspects athletes can control each day and should be looking to maximize their sleep to improve their overall performance and decrease injury rates. 

The Freedom PT Therapists can help improve the quality of your sleep. Schedule your appointment today.


  1. Watson, Andrew M. MD, MS Sleep and Athletic Performance, Current Sports Medicine Reports: 11/12 2017 – Volume 16 – Issue 6 – p 413-418 doi:10.1249/JSR.0000000000000418
Joe has a passion for treating the overhead athlete and ensuring safe movement patterns for these individuals. He spends his off time coaching and working with baseball athletes through STiKS Baseball Academy in Waukesha. He also coaches the varsity baseball team at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.