Think you can make up that all-nighter over the weekend? Think again: a new body of research indicates that the perks of consistently good sleep at night can help improve athletic performance and improved language and math skills.
A study from researchers at Stanford University found that extra hours of sleep at night helped to improve football players’ performance on drills. By having the seven football players involved in the study aim for 10 hours of sleep at night for the duration of the football season, the researchers discovered that the players were able to improve their performance on the 40-yard dash and the 20-yard shuttle. Specifically, the players average 40-yard dash time was 4.99 seconds, but after six weeks of extra sleep, the average time dropped to 4.89 seconds.
Moreover, another recent study found that the benefits of adequate sleep also improve cognitive skills in young children. For example, Erika Gaylor of SRI International, a nonprofit research institute, analyzed a federal survey of 8,000 families in which parents were asked questions about the bedtime habits of their children. The survey was ongoing, beginning when the children were only 9 months old and lasting until the start of kindergarten. Overall, the researchers discovered that children of parents who reported having a rule about bedtime had higher scores on language and math skills.
These two studies are just a small part of the many studies analyzing the impact of sleep on our health. The take-home message: make sure to get your ZZZs!