Most medical services are focused on treating problems after they arise. It’s rare to see true scientific evidence of preventative techniques that work. A study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference showed that teen athletes who slept at least eight hours a night were 68% less likely to be injured than athletes who regularly slept less. Sleeping at least 8 hrs a night had a preventative effect in preventing athletic injuries, while chronic poor sleepers suffered more injuries.

While the mechanism of this effect is not clear, the benefit is worthwhile noting. The benefit likely did not involve improved biomechanics related to better rest since no affect was seen on injury prevention amongst athletes who received private coaching or strength training. A philosophical explanation for the purpose and general benefit of sleep is that it gives the body a chance to recuperate from the day’s stress. The benefit in this study was related to long term good sleeping habits rather than strictly sleeping soundly the night before a game. It turns out that some advice your mom gave you growing up does pass rigorous scientific evaluation.

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