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In the second part of her blog series, England’s mixed and women’s doubles star Lauren Smith talks to us about why sleep is such an important part of an elite athlete’s recovery process…  

Did you know we should all be aiming for eight hours sleep a night?  

I have always known sleep was important for recovery, but it was only recently that I discovered exactly why that is.  

There are so many benefits to sleep – not just for sport but for general health too. 

Having read, Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walkerthe main facts I learnt are:  

-Sleep speeds up motor skill learning 
-Reduces injury risk
-Accelerates recovery (stimulates muscle repair, reduces inflammation and helps restock cell energy) 
-Attain less than eight hours and endurance, aerobic output, lactic build up and peak strength are all negatively impacted for performance. 

There are so many more advantages to getting a good night’s sleep, but they are the highlights for me! 

If you want to know more, I recommend the book or you could listen to Matthew Walkers Joe Rogan podcast episode.  

Next up in Lauren’s blog series – Nutrition!  

This is a vital step forward in our quest to keep community sport open and accessible to all but there is still more that can be done.  

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