By: SMP Staff

Adolescent athletes in all sports, levels, and abilities have one thing in common. They hate being injured! They also hate it when they don’t perform as well as they know they can. The good news is by doing this one simple thing, you can improve performance mentally and physically, and reduce the risk of injuries by 68%.

“Scientists have found that adolescents who slept eight or nine hours each night were 68 percent less likely to be injured than athletes who regularly slept less, according to an abstract presented Sunday, Oct. 21, at the American Academy of Pediatrics National conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.”1Reduce injury through sleep

What is interesting is that out of all of the factors the researchers looked at including; gender, weeks of participation in sports per year, number of sports, strength training, private coaching, and the idea of having fun in sports, only hours of sleep and grade were significantly related to the risk of injury.

Dr. Milewski noted, “When we stared this study, we thought the amount of sports played, year-round play, and increased specialization in sports would be much more important for injury risk. What we found is that the two most important facts were hours of sleep and grade in school.”

Not just athletes, but every teenager needs the appropriate amount of sleep. Many young people think that seven to eight hours is enough, but that is the recommended amount for adults; teenagers are still growing and probably need more sleep.

Sleep helps cognitive performance, growth, immune function, and fine motor skills, all of which are important factors in the health and well-being of adolescents.

So next time you are carpooling a bunch of kids to their soccer game, or taking them to basketball practice, think about another extremely important ingredient in your child’s play; what time is she/he going to bed tonight?


How to Help
If your teen needs help winding down and falling asleep, consider downloading one of the following on his or her iPod to listen to in bed.

Progressive Relaxation
Power Nap (do this only if immediately going to sleep. Or to get an edge, try it two or three hours before a big game.)

For a sleep program, consider the book Good Night. The Sleep Doctor’s 4 Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health by Dr. Michael J. Bruess on Amazon.


For more information on sleep click on one of these articles; Do I have Insomnia, Sleep FAQ, Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep, What Sleep Has to Do With Your Waistline, and How You Eat Affects How You Sleep?


1. Sleep Study - American Academy of Pediatrics National conference and Exhibition in New Orleans