How much sleep do teenager athletes need?

I love to sleep, and I always struggle to wake up before 6 am for morning training. I was genuinely trying my best, but after years of fight with myself I gave up and I sleep till 6:30 am, or even 7:30 am when I can. I was feeling guilty for many years. I thought I am lazy and weak.

I changed my view after reading a fascinating book written by Professor neuroscientist at UC Berkeley and sleep expert Matthew Walker. Professor Walker conducted twenty years of research on a human brain and sleep. Shared the research results gave us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep.


It became apparent to me that I will never force athletes to do training before 7 am. Or to make it even more precise, I do not want athletes coming to practice if the athlete did not get eight hours of sleep for adults and ten hours for teenagers athletes. That means that for teenager athlete to train at 7 am the athlete needs to be in bed and sleeping by 8:30 pm and wake up at 6:30 am. Do you know any teenager going to bed at 8:30 pm? - No! Why? - 'It's because their brains naturally work on later schedules and aren't ready for bed before 9 pm or even 10 pm' (KidsHealth.org, 2020).

That is why, as a coach who understands the importance of sleep, especially for teenagers, our practice taking place afternoon (with few exceptions occasionally).


To start with, watch TED show 'Sleep is Your Superpower | Mathew Walker'.

If you are a parent or an athlete, or just a curious human being, do yourself a favour and read (or listen) "Why we sleep" book ($16).

PhD Walker also explains to the parents why their teenagers do not go to bed on time and are awake till late.

The information provided is mindblowing, and I believe it will change your habits for a better quality of life with less disease, better memory and new personal best athletics achievements because sleep is an essential aspect of our healthy living. You do not need a prescription for sleep and it is free.

So use your sleeping superpower and be your best in anything you do!

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