How Sleep can Affect Athletic Performance and Recovery

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Cilliers Marais


Like basic survival, sleep and enhanced athletic performance go hand-in-hand. As an athlete, you cannot reach the apex of your ability without sleep. But how important is it truly? How much do you need? What recovery benefits does sleep provide your body with? To answer these questions, we’ll be delving deeper into the science of sleeping and how it translates into performance and recovery.

REM Sleep

If you are familiar with the stages of sleep, the term REM sleep will be instantly recognisable. As a quick summary, REM (rapid eye movement) is a stage in sleep in which rapid eye movement, as well as low muscle tone, is present.

During REM, you are most likely to dream very intensely. But how does this impact your rest? Well, during REM, enhanced levels of energy are provided to the body and brain. This increase will translate directly into your performance as an athlete

Decision Making

Regardless of the choice of sport, an athlete will always perform much better if they have an increased ability to make split-second decisions. Lack of sleep has a direct impact on the brain’s ability to make decisions. Therefore, if you want to bring the best out of your ability to make decisions, get rest.


Yes, sleep impacts memory. Your memory is effectively reconstructed and fortified when you sleep. Should you fail to get those 8 hours of rest, your body’s ability to repair and strengthen memory is impacted significantly. This will especially influence someone like a tennis player, whose game relies heavily on remembering the right technique and consistently playing the right shots.  Therefore, should you get enough sleep, your body’s ability to recover memory after a full day of working out will be enhanced.


When you exercise, your output is fueled by energy reserves – almost like a battery. In your body, however, recharging happens when you sleep. The more energy and fitness you have, the higher your performance output will be. However, failing to get a proper night’s rest will result in energy depletion, exactly like a poorly charged battery. So, it is quite clear how sleep aids in your body’s ability to recover energy as well as the output thereof. We truly are energised by sleep.

Personal Experience

Now, I promise not to claim to be Google nor a renowned athlete. But, I do have experience when it comes to the effect sleep has on my performance as an athlete. I do also have many years of intense workout experience. For this reason, I thought it would be more engaging to provide backup from a personal perspective.

I don’t think the fact that sleep has an impact on athletic performance and recovery will be a life-changing discovery for you. To be frank, you probably knew it already. But, through studying this topic, I have become genuinely fascinated by the sheer level of impact sleep has. However, from my personal experience, the impact is all to clear. And I’ll tell you how I noticed this clear change.

A Sad Story

When I was sixteen years old, I broke two vertebrae in my back. At the time – with super limited knowledge – we recruited our neighbour to construct a mattress for me. The big problem with this was the fact that it was purely made out of a very cheap foam that was plagued with calcium fillers. The mattress had no real structure. It was merely two foamy layers on top of one another. This unfortunate situation would go on to last almost a decade. And it gets worse. I even used this mattress solely on the ground for almost a whole year.

New Hope

Yes, my situation wasn’t all that glamorous. However, I never complained about it. Why? Well, firstly, because I could fall asleep within seconds anywhere. It truly is a blessing that is missed. The second reason is quite simply because I did not know there was anything better.

Right up until I received my first Plush Kooi bed; it was the delight of my life. In fact, I loved sleeping on my new plush bed so much that I almost felt guilty. I cannot believe that I was content with a mattress plagued by body impressions and poor design. There simply isn’t a substitute for a proper mattress, nor should you even try to find one.

To The Point – Athletic Performance and Recovery

Personal Conclusion

Without digressing further, what did I learn? Well, you should never compromise on the quality of your bed. If budget is a problem, save or make use of a credit account. You do not want to be stuck on a bed that does not optimise your sleep.

In the last year of sleeping on my new mattress, I have seen significant improvements in numerous facets of my life. I perform better because I have far more energy. I recover faster because I have more comfort. Falling asleep is also much easier, which is essential in getting those 8 hours of beauty sleep before the rush of the day starts again.


If you’re not convinced that sleep aids in your body’s ability to improve athletic performance and aid recovery, you’ll never be. That being said, I am confident that this blog will have a 100% success rate in proving the point. Whether it’s fighting fatigue, improving memory or optimising energy levels, sleep helps. It is an essential part of your life that will help you to be a better athlete. We’ve all heard our doctor say this: “get some rest, you’ll heal quicker.” I’ll just drop the mic right there.

Do you want a bed that will optimise your performance and recovery? Buy Kooi Bed today by clicking here.