We’ve all been told to “get enough sleep”, but what does this mean, particularly when it comes to middle school aged athletes with injuries, and to aid in recovery? It is recommended that adolescent athletes sleep at least 10-12 hours per night for injury prevention and healing due in large part to the increase in HGH (Human Growth Hormone) that is released during sleep which is essential in healing damaged tissues.1
Along with HGH, Prolactin is also released during sleep which contains anti-inflammatory qualities resulting in continued healing.2 Additionally the body also creates more WBC’s (White Blood Cells) while sleeping than while awake to lend in the healing process.3
Not only does the amount of sleep an injured person gets matter, but the position in which they sleep can aid in healing as well. Below are some common injuries and optimal sleeping positions for faster healing:2
Overtired athletes often perform at a lower level, are less focused, and have a higher rate of injury than their fully rested counterparts. Adequate sleep is essential to injury prevention, as well as the healing process when an injury does occur.