The holy grail for your sporting excellence and long-term health:

Optimal sleep.

Imagine you are in a perfect world.

Your mood is exuberantly positive. Your brain works at maximum efficiency. Your body feels healthy, energetic and powerful.

In this perfect world, you not only eat a balanced diet and have ideal training control, but also sufficient and restful sleep to be able to exploit your full potential.

Restful sleep is absolutely essential for your health as well as for physiological and psychological recovery and performance.

How long should you sleep and what happens when you don't sleep?

Adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night to give their bodies and minds the best rest. Competitive athletes are recommended to get at least 9 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep should be given the same importance as physical training and nutrition. A high-performance athlete not only needs more calories than most people, but also more restful sleep.

Unfortunately, the reality often looks different. Many competitive athletes sleep too little and/or have disturbed sleep. Training and competition demands in particular, but also non-sporting stress factors, can influence the need for sleep and the quality of sleep. This in turn can have a negative effect on your mood and your performance.

A US study of 189 college athletes found that 68% reported poor sleep quality, with 87% getting less than or equal to 8 hours of sleep per night and 43% getting less than 7 hours.

We have summarized for you the specific consequences of lack of sleep for your performance and health:

  • Inhibited sprinting abilities. In a study of sleep-deprived male team athletes, average and total sprint times decreased.
  • Decreased Accuracy. Tennis players had up to 53% less serve accuracy after sleep deprivation.
  • Lower response times. Lack of sleep impairs reaction time in a study group of male college athletes.
  • Faster exhaustion. Lack of sleep can reduce the time to exhaustion by up to 30% .
    Example: If you don't sleep well the night before a 10,000 meter race, your physical exhaustion can set in after about 7,000 meters.
  • Limited learning ability and difficult decision-making. Executive functions are adversely affected by lack of sleep.

Example: Movement sequences learned during training are harder to remember and recall in competition. During the competition, for example in a soccer game, the probability of making wrong decisions increases, for example instead of playing the ball to a better-positioned teammate, the game ends in a rush.

  • Increased stress and the risk of burning out more quickly.
  • Hormonal and metabolic disorders that can promote weight problems, among other things.
  • Weakening of the immune system and thus increasing the risk of infection , especially for colds and upper respiratory diseases.

Chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of injury by up to 70% .

That sounds anything but desirable, doesn't it?

Therefore, your goal should be to get adequate, quality sleep most nights for optimal recovery, performance, and long-term health.

  • What can you do if that is (sometimes) not the case?

Here you will find tried and tested tips for a restful sleep.

In this blog series, we're going to take a close look at one tip: power napping.

You're probably wondering why power napping?

In addition to getting a good night's sleep, naps can help keep us refreshed and productive during the day.

Especially after a night of insufficient sleep, a nap can work wonders.

A short nap can help restore your energy and focus throughout the day. At best, you get two days of energy in one.

That's why napping is your unfair competitive advantage. It is free and has no dangerous side effects.

Sounds pretty promising, doesn't it? Then buckle up now!

Here are 10 more reasons why you should definitely add napping to your recovery toolbox from now on:


  1. Increases your alertness.
  2. Improves your motor skills.
  3. Improves your precision/accuracy.
  4. Improves your decision-making ability.
  5. Supports weight loss and muscle building.
  6. Improves your endurance performance.
  7. Promotes stress reduction and increases relaxation.
  8. Supports your cognitive abilities (learning and memory skills).
  9. Increases your creativity.
  10. Improves your mood.

BONUS: It just feels good to wake up with renewed energy, alertness and focus and to be able to call on your full potential for the rest of the day.


If you're one of those people who haven't used this secret weapon yet, I'm pretty sure that will change very soon.

In the next post you will learn more about how we humans sleep and your optimal nap duration to achieve the best recovery effect for you.