Your body needs at least eight hours of sleep a day. As a runner, your body exerts a lot of energy and needs a full day of rest to recover. Cutting these hours will undermine your athletic abilities. Learn more about the direct effects that sleep has on your running performance.

The health benefits of sleep

The health benefits of sleep are obvious when you look at people with insomnia. They are jittery, restless and have difficulty staying focused. They are more stressed out because of their lack of sleep, and they are more likely to become tired and fall asleep suddenly during the day.

In contrast, getting enough sleep makes you more focused and prepared for each day. You are more organized and less forgetful of small tasks that you need to do. Only getting a few hours of sleep makes you tired and agitated throughout the day. The effects are similar to hunger - you'll think mostly about how tired you are.

If you’re struggling to get the right amount of sleep or are getting enough sleep but still feeling tired, consider getting a better mattress and make sure that your pillow provides proper neck alignment.

Concentration

Running is not just about physical endurance - you need to stay focused as you run. Sleep reduces the risks of developing psychological disorders that interfere with your athletic performances. You feel less agitated and anxious when you perform in public. When you sleep, the body feels comfortable and relaxed, which helps you to control negative moods.

Runners sleep at night to feel less stressed during the day. Stress is an underlying factor that athletes need less of to remain successful. Running is a very stressful sport in itself, so runners must sleep to wind down and recover after a heavy day of exercise.

Balance

There are significant effects of sleep on athletic performance that are obvious to everyone. Being athletic requires that you engage in a lot of running. With a good night's rest, you remain well balanced as you run.

Not having enough sleep is similar to being intoxicated because the brain begins to feel clogged up to the point where you cannot easily put one foot in front of the other. So, running in a straight line becomes nearly impossible. Sleep is necessary to maintain a healthy balance.

Sleep is a necessity and not an option for optimal health. You can go for days without sleeping, but the negative effects quickly show up in the body. As a runner, you cannot afford to make mistakes as you perform or the result could be a serious injury. Take sleep seriously if you want to succeed on the field.

Other than getting the right amount of sleep, wearing the right socks can help reduce body fatigue and allow you to keep running for longer periods of time.