Report says eight-hour sleep is the target for athletes

If you are prone to repeated injuries, the best way to avoid them might be to get more sleep.

That’s the conclusion of a team of exercise scientists reporting in a recent issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, who followed 340 athletes at elite sports-focused high schools in Sweden.

The athletes competed in a range of sports including athletics, orienteering and skiing (cross-country, downhill, freestyle, and ski orienteering).

Researchers followed up with them twice a year with intriguing results.

They discovered that athletes who reported sleeping at least eight hours per night in the autumn term were 61% less likely to report any physical injury that caused pain, reduced performance, or missed training in the spring term.

In addition, those who reported meeting recommendations for eating enough fruits, vegetables and fish were 64% less likely to report injury.

A previous study by California researchers in the Journal of Paediatric Orthopaedics three years ago had shown that athletes who slept less than eight hours a night were 70% more likely to get injured.

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