Beyond Physical Fitness: The Importance of Sleep & Mental Health for Professional Athletes
No matter where you are in the world, sports are an integral facet of our everyday lives. We watch our favorite professional athletes win games, break new records and push themselves every game all season long. We reminisce about the great who came before them, but also think about the next big star – watching their highlight reel on YouTube and TikTok.
But as much as we think about athletes as superhumans, professional athletes are not immune to mental health issues that plague our society. As adults, many of us face some sort of stress and anxiety in our daily routines. In fact, 1 in 5 adults will live with a mental health condition at some point in their lives. This can be anything from stress to anxiety and depression. For athletes, this is magnified even more with the pressure to always be performing at their best while balancing a home-life in-and-out of the spotlight, plus constant travel!
But it’s not just poor mental health. Sleep deprivation is a massive challenge all athletes face. In the NBA alone, fatigue has been a reality of life. The league plays over 80 games in under six months, flying up to 50,000 miles per season. Player health and wellness has been a focus for the league and they have made significant progress in the past few years. Most recently, the NBA set new rules ahead of the 2019-2020 season and hosted a mandatory health and wellness meeting for all team executives.
The NBA isn’t alone in this. In recent years, we’ve seen the leagues step up to ensure proper sleep and mental health offerings are part of their organizations (MLS, NFL, WNBA), and are also working with organizations on the long-term health impacts of sports. We’ve also seen big stars, like Lebron James, highlight the importance of mental health through his partnership with Calm, the leading mental health and meditation app.
It’s clear that it’s not just about physical performance and health. Sleep and mental health are an essential part of an athlete’s path to success. This is why we have partnered with the Brooklyn Nets, a team who continues to emphasize the importance of sleep-wellness within their organization, starting with their players.
In the ‘Trainer Talk’ mini-series, hear from three of the team’s top trainers as they share some tips on how they’re prioritizing proper sleep and strong mental health to ensure their players are in peak condition.
- Episode 1: Rest & Recovery
- Episode 2: Sleep Tech
- Episode 3: Maintaining a Health Sleep Regimen During Covid
You can find the ‘Trainer Talk’ mini-series currently on the Brooklyn Nets’ Twitter and Facebook pages, with a third and final installment coming to you next Tuesday, July 14.