Sifan Hassan won the world record in the 10,000 meters. And she hadn’t slept well the night before. Not surprisingly, experts say, because a bad night’s sleep before a game doesn’t matter much.
“The last night before a competition is not that important, a lot of athletes think so. It’s more what you did before that, to rest,” said Jos Hermens, sporting director and out-of-town athlete, yesterday. sport. The 1. He was the guest of the talk show with athlete Hassan yesterday.
“Real effects only in the long term”
“It doesn’t really matter,” says Arne Nieuwenhuys, a researcher at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He examined with NOC * NSF between 2012 and 2016, with the approach of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the sleep of about 10 to 100 top Dutch athletes.
“If you measure this very finely, you see that people have a harder time holding their attention if they sleep less once, but the real effects of sleep deprivation are longer term,” says Nieuwenhuys.
Poor sleep is inevitable
Former athlete Kamiel Maase also recognizes this. Maase is the Dutch record holder in the 10,000 meters for men. He also sometimes slept badly before an important game. “Of course, that’s almost inevitable,” Maase says. “You’re up to it for a long time and it brings healthy tension. It may make you sleep less, but it’s usually not a problem at all.”
This makes it harder to keep your attention after a bad night. “And in addition, you will often be emotionally unstable and feel a greater sense of fatigue,” explains Arne Nieuwenhuys.
“You win the Tour in bed”
“You win the Tour in bed,” Joop Zoetemelk said in 1980. Does it still differ depending on the sport in how badly you suffer from a bad night? “I think that sleep is particularly important in cycling because such a Tour takes a long time,” explains Arne Nieuwenhuys. However, there are some sports where you run into more trouble. “But I think more of sports where the attention component is important, for example gymnastics. There, the eye-hand coordination is very close and you really have to do the right movement at the right time,” explains Nieuwenhuys.
So it seems more logical that you are more likely to run into problems after a bad night as a gymnast than as a marathon runner. “When you run or cycle, the movement and skill are slightly more automatic,” says Nieuwenhuys.
Good news for Olympic athletes
All in all, a bad night won’t stop you from getting that gold medal, Sifan Hassan also proves. Good news for all the athletes heading to Tokyo this summer for the Olympic Games.
While it is still important to pay close attention to your sleep, former athlete Kamiel Maase says, “Put your phone away for the last two hours before bed and read a book in peace. How about getting a little less sleep the day before the final? “No problem at all. Get up, do your thing and get this medal!”