Generally speaking, everyone at different points in their life will encounter sleep deprivation. But sleep deprivation and chronic sleep loss can lead to serious health problems. Not only does a lack of sleep put your body at risk for serious health issues including heart disease, but it also means that you’ll feel groggy, less alert and productive, and you may not be able to fend off invaders as well as usual because your immune system will be weak.
It sounds bad enough, but for athletes, it can also be career-ending. A lack of sleep will have a direct impact on an athlete’s performance on the field.
In the course of training and pursuit of victory in sport, many players have neglected crucial aspects of training: a balanced diet, mental exercise, weight training, video technology and progressive teaching concepts that are specific to the different skill sets required. Unfortunately, most coaches don’t stress on the need for healthy sleeping habits, though sleep is essential and not to be taken for granted.
In fact, sleeplessness can be high stress on athletes and have several kinds of negative effects. One notable side effect is the lack of concentration and inability to stay active physically and mentally sharp, which can translate to missing hits or catches on the pitch.
Paranoia, disorientation and hallucinations, amongst others, are further symptoms of prolonged sleeplessness. Here we’ll dig a little deeper into the impact sleep has on athletic performance, and the dangers of not get enough zzz’s before a game.

Experts’ Views on Sleep Deprivation

According to Dr. James Maas, an international viral consultant on sleep and performance, more than half of the American population are not meeting the standard amount of sleep needed each night, which is 7 to 8 hours.
He went on to say that as one grows older, the sleeping time needs to increase gradually. This involves both middle school kids, adults and the elderly. An average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night to be active and full of life for an excellent performance.
People who can get by on four hours of sleep sometimes brag about their strength and endurance. But Healthline has revealed that recent scientific studies show that a lack of sleep causes many significant changes in the body and increases your risk for serious health concerns such as obesity, disease, and even early death.
Researchers in the United Kingdom and Italy analyzed data from 16 separate studies conducted over 25 years, covering more than 1.3 million people and more than 100,000 deaths. Their findings showed that those who generally slept for less than five to seven hours a night were 12 percent more likely to experience a premature death. People who slept more than eight or nine hours per night had an even higher risk — 30 percent.

Common Consequences of Sleeplessness in Athletes

It should be noted that the effects or consequences of prolonged sleeplessness are not immediate. They have long-term effects on young athletes.
The experts at The Baseballstop told us that “Drowsiness is a common symptom has shouldn’t be overlooked. Drowsiness from long nights can lead to a severe dip in alertness at mid-day, which is likely to affect one’s performance. 
Especially because most baseball matches in colleges and high schools are played at noon. Ultimately, an athlete cannot give their best performance when the body and brain are deficient of sleep, so it’s important to make sleep a priority if you want to get to the top of your game in your sport.”
Lack of sleep may lead to the following symptoms:
     An increase in irritability
     Drowsiness
     Depression
     Unnecessary weight gain
     Anxiety in athletes
Other research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.

And it’s not just physical health that a lack of sleep can impact. Recent studies have found that sleeplessness can lead to loss of sense of humor and affect a player’s team spirit and cooperation.
Ultimately, athletes who give their best performance prioritize sleep. This is the same for all kinds of sportspersons and all kinds of professions. Sleep is essential – so it’s essential you get enough!