How Sleep Can Affect Martial Arts

Last updated on 16.08.2020 by

Did you know that sleep can affect how you perform in martial arts? That’s right…no matter if you are a practitioner in jiu-jitsu, judo, or wrestling, a lack of sleep can affect your concentration and performance. We’ll dive into what could happen if you don’t get enough sleep while training. 

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What Can Happen

If you are lacking sleep while learning or training, it can lead to disastrous (if not dangerous) consequences. It’s important to know what they are so you can get in the habit of getting a good night’s sleep (which is roughly 7 to 8+ hours). Let’s take a look at some of the not so great things that can happen if you lack sleep:

You have a lack of judgment

If you perform well, you need to have a sharp mind to use your best sense of judgment. In fact, your judgment is one of the first things that is affected by a lack of sleep. You need to be alert and be able to make decisions when you are alert and attentive.

You won’t absorb everything you learn

The thing about martial arts is while there are some physical aspects to it, there are also mental aspects as well. We dare say that there is more mental than physical in martial arts. That’s because you need to use your better judgment on knowing when to strike (and where to strike if needed).

When you are alert and attentive, you can retain the information you learn with ease. While sleep-deprived, it will be like your mind is in a haze. The thing is you won’t remember what you’ve learned once you start waking up more. 

Less sleep = more stress

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This is a big one. The less you sleep, the more stressed you’ll feel. This will affect your drilling, performance, and concentration. Plus, you’ll be making poor decisions when you are not in the right frame of mind. Not to mention, you are prone to making more mistakes if you are stressed (which can further aggravate you more). Don’t let stress cloud your mind due to a lack of sleep. 

What to do to get better rest

The solution is simple: get better rest. It may seem difficult to do at first. But when you start following a sleep schedule, you’ll feel the effects of being more well-rested. 

Plus, you’ll have increased concentration and productivity. Let’s take a look at some tips that will put you on the path towards more restful nights:

Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night

While people say eight hours of sleep is what you need, you can still be able to fully function if you sleep anywhere between 7 to 9 hours. Choose a bedtime that fits your schedule. For example, if 10 PM is a good enough time then your wake up time should be about 6 AM (but no earlier than 5 AM or later than 7 AM).

Power down your electronics

We live in an age where electronics are part of our everyday life. But it can also affect the quality of our sleep. You should power down all electronics at least two hours prior to your target bedtime. If you go to bed at 10 PM, all electronics must be off at 8 PM sharp. 

Do something relaxing after power down

Once you power down your electronics, you’ll want to do something that will be considered relaxing. You can do stretches, read a book, write in a journal, or anything that doesn’t require the use of electronics. Relaxing activities will help mentally and physically aid in getting a good night’s sleep. 

Final Thoughts

As someone who is learning or practicing a martial art, sleep is super important. Especially when it requires mostly concentration and mental alertness. A lack of sleep can definitely lead to disaster. 

Be sure to be aware of how a lack of sleep can affect your martial arts performance so you can stick to a sleep schedule. A good night’s sleep will always yield the best results for you both mentally and physically.