Health Package: Snooze You Can Use

The three pillars of health are diet, exercise and sleep. Shortchange one of the three, and just like a stool with a bum leg, the entire structure is likely to topple over.

Sleep is a precious commodity over the long haul of any hockey season, especially at the NHL level. That’s why the mantra for every hockey player remains the same—proper rest produces peak performance.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman and Team USA veteran Jack Johnson said the key to maintaining the proper rest comes through mental discipline.

“I’ve learned that once the game’s over, you’ve got to move on immediately,” Johnson said. “I’ll maybe think about the game for an hour or two, but after that, I like to think I’m pretty good at cleaning the slate and getting ready for the next one.”

While studies say that most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, athletes may need even more. “Sleep should be considered as important as diet, regular practice and studying the game plan in advance of the game,” said Dr. Erik K. St. Louis, associate professor of neurology and senior associate consultant at the Mayo Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minn.

“Feelings of tiredness or fatigue, poor energy or motivation levels; reduced exercise tolerance; poor workout and game performance; feeling sleepy; and persisting soreness after a workout are a few possible symptoms of insufficient sleep.”

While a variety of elements impact a player’s performance on the ice, sleep deprivation can slow down reaction time and reduce energy levels. It can also impact a player's decision-making process, which can directly affect your hockey sense.

Conversely, studies have found that athletes who increase their snooze time experience better performances with better reaction times, a quicker stride and a more accurate shot. This is definitely snooze you can use.





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