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Secret To Winning Sports?

June 5th, 2014

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It’s a huge weekend in professional sports — catch some of it if you can. It’s just extraordinary showcase of the best of the best athletes, the strongest, fittest, fastest, and toughest in a whole host of sports …

The NBA finals are about to begin in basketball (game 1 is tonight) … the Miami Heat versus the San Antonio Spurs (It was the same match-up in last year’s finals where the Heat won. They won the year before too).

The French Open finals are this weekend in tennis.

Wonder horse California Chrome could win the very elusive Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

The Stanley Cup final  is underway between the L.A. Kings and the New York Rangers (apologies for the editorial bias: Go Rangers!)

And just around the corner is soccer’s highly anticipated World Cup  that will be underway in Brazil beginning next week (with a bit more construction to go …)

The key to winning for these athletes, the secret to their success? Training harder? Wanting it more? Never giving up? Probably those things too.

But a new book says a critical, must-do factor is … ta da … SLEEP more. Huh?

The book Sleep to Win! by Dr. James Maas and Haley Davis talks about how just getting more sleep contributed to 15-year old figure skater Sarah Hughes winning an Olympic gold medal. The biggest change she reportedly made in her training … getting more sleep.

The book gives other testimonials of professional and student athletes becoming faster runners, having better reaction time, and sinking more free-throws, including Amber Way a cross country and track runner in Michigan who changed her sleep from 7 to over 9 hours each night … and went on to break 5 school records and win the state championship.

The thinking is that it’s especially important for teenagers whose bodies are still developing, needing about 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night — about two hours more than many teens are getting. And it’s all backed up by the science of what happens. According to a blog post by the authors , there’s a “cascade of calcium that rushes into the motor cortex of the brain. This calcium consolidates the muscle memory in your teen’s brain, so any of the techniques they may have practiced during the day are transferred into their permanent memory.”

Sounds like my kind of training!

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