Sleep – The Best Performance Enhancing Drug There Is

Physical activity has a positive impact on rest and recovery, and a good night’s sleep has an enhancing effect on exercise and alertness. Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on physical performance. It is essential for athletes to have a proper amount of rest; sleep deprivation can be seen in results.

In one study, a team of basketball players was monitored while tracking the amount of sleep they were getting. At first, they were advised to sleep normally for 2-4 weeks, and after that, their performance was measured. Instead of restricting their rest for the following weeks, the next 5-7 weeks, they were advised to sleep as much as possible. When measuring the physical performance after the 5-7 weeks period, the results were astonishing. Even though the athletes were sleeping “the proper” amount, having a few hours more sleep each night had a massive bonus: the hit rate of free throws increased by 9%, and hit rate on 3-pointers increased by 9.2%. Usually, the same results are achieved with years of practice or by using prohibited substances.

Additional Reading


Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Kezirian, E. J., & Dement, W. C. (2011). The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players. Sleep, 34(7), 943–950.