Want to play better? Sleep on it…


sleepy golferGrabbing a coffee because you feel you ‘need’ one to wake you up before you get to the first tee?  If so, you are like so many golfers who are looking for something to sharpen their concentration and blow the sleep dust from their eyes.  The problem is, while you have a short-term increase in alertness, there is the feeling of your energy levels dropping as the effects of the caffeine wear off.

The answer if you are feeling this way is not to get another cup of coffee, but to get some more sleep.  In the past I have wondered how much more productive I’d be if I could function effectively on less sleep.  I normally have around 7 or 7.5 hours sleep a night.  If I have less, I can function effectively, but not optimally.  There’s my answer…

Aside from the many health deficits caused by lack of sleep, the two which affect golfers the most are inability to concentrate and problems with mood control.  You can imagine the scenario where a sleep starved golfer who is having trouble concentrating, plays poorly which affects his mood and causes a downward spiral which probably lasts well beyond the 18th green.

My experience in coaching teams is that in a team environment, it is common for golfers to have less sleep than they normally would.  This is usually because they stay up talking for much longer than they would at home.  I also suspect there is something of a badge of honour to be the last person to go to bed.  It leads to the question, “how important is sleep for good golf?”

In his blog about sleep and its importance as a competitive advantage, Tony Schwartz explains that the benefits extend far beyond health.  His article drew on the research findings from the Stamford Sleep Disorders Clinic where they asked the Stamford basketball team to get 10 hours of sleep per night for 6 weeks.  The improvements in their alertness and basketball performance were dramatic.

If you feel your golf could benefit from getting more sleep, to say nothing of other areas of your life, have a read of this article from the Sleep Health Foundation on good sleeping habits

Let me know what benefits you find from changing your sleep patterns for the better..



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