Sleep – Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD)

Last month I wrote an article on athlete stress and recovery. One of the topics touched on was the importance of sleep for athletes. Did you know that Canada has an LTAD for sleep?  Written by leading experts, the ‘Sleep LTAD’ is a guide for parents, athletes and coaches interested in the role of sleep in human performance. The ‘Sleep LTAD’ covers the following topics:

• The importance of sleep for recovery and performance
• Sleep length and sleep quality
• Sleep disorders
• Sleep requirements at different stages of LTAD

Here’s a short excerpt regarding sleep and teenagers:

“It is very important for athletes, parents and coaches to be aware of the fact that at the time in life (12–18 years old) when adolescents require the most amount of sleep (9–10 hours per night) they tend to develop a delay in their biological clock (circadian sleep phase) that reduces the amount of time available for sleep. This results in a chronic sleep restriction during a time of increasing training demands, growth and development.”  Charles and Alexander.

If you are interested in reading more about sleep, here are some references:

• Samuels C. (2008) “Sleep, recovery, and performance: the new frontier in high-performance athletics.” Neurol Clin 2008;26(1):169-180.
• Coren, S. (1996) “Sleep Thieves.”
• Mednick, S.C. (2006) “Take a Nap! Change Your Life.”

All for now,

Andrew Lambert, BCA Director Sports Science