No matter your skill level, you will always ask “how can I improve my golf game?”. One way of doing this with no practice at all is to sleep better. Golfers won’t hesitate to spend thousands of dollars on new clubs, lessons, practice time at the range and much more. Yet, when it comes to a quality mattress and pillows…well, that’s not even a consideration.
A lot is always said about how diet and exercise are important for all types of sports, especially golf, but sleep is hardly in this conversation. When it comes to sleep, if you are not getting enough every night you will feel sluggish and have little ability to focus on the game and course.
Sleep experts recommend on average 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep per night for adults, and most PGA Tour pros aren’t getting that. Imagine how much better they’d play if they slept more!
Proper sleep and golf go hand in hand. Here are 4 ways sleep can improve your golf game.
Mental Performance and Memory Improvement
Golf is one of the most mentally demanding sports, and because of this, quality sleep is important. Focus and concentration depend on your body getting the rest it needs to perform at its highest level.
Sleep helps with problem solving, and problems occur often (sometimes every hole) and you need to figure out how to resolve them. An example of this is when you slice your drive into the rough behind a tree on a long par 4.
You need to get yourself out of this predicament, and a lack in sleep will cloud your judgement. so instead of just trying to punch it out and getting it on the fairway, you go for broke by pulling out your three wood, give it the old “grip it and rip it” and nail the tree thus ricocheting the ball backwards down a hill.
Memory- without adequate sleep, your brain has a harder time recalling and absorbing information. Say for example you took lessons yesterday in preparation for your round today, if you did not get a quality night sleep, that lesson was all but a waste. Your brain will not be able to remember half of what you were taught thus causing you frustration and wasting your hard earned money.
Increased Physical Stamina and Performance
Believe it or not, golf is a game that requires a great deal of physical stamina and endurance, and is an unusually taxing sport. In an average 9 hole round, a golfer can expel upwards of 800 calories while walking 2.5 miles (or more if you need to chase your ball all over the place). Combine this with the repeated physical movement of swinging your club, you will be tired at the end of the round.
Sleep is needed to provide you the energy needed to maintain a level of performance. After just 1 or 2 hours of less sleep, the body becomes sluggish and does not have the capability to perform at high levels.
In addition to providing more energy, quality sleep is needed for the repair cells and any broken down muscle and tissue. Golf is a strenuous workout for your legs and core and muscle recovery is critical if you are looking to perform a level of greatness.
Retaining muscle memory is also an important aspect of any golf game. Sleep plays a key role in muscle memory and remembering repeated motions, such as swinging your clubs. Swinging a golf club is one of the only movements in sports that needs to be the same every time and has multiple components (different clubs = different swings). If you are not getting the amount of sleep required to retain and remember these constant movements, then you game will be way off.
Another way sleep aids in the physical performance on the course is by making your eyes well rested. Vision, as we know, is critical in an optimal golf game. If your eyes are tired your depth perception becomes worse and your shot selection isn’t what it should be.
Injury Prevention and Recovery
When people think of injury prevention in sports, golf isn’t at the top of the list due to it not being a contact sport. In spite of this, injuries in golfers are common, especially in the back, hips, and neck.
It is estimated that around 75 – 85% of all Americans experience some form of back pain in their lifetime, and this number is higher among golfers.
The constant rotational stress of a swing places considerable pressure on your spine and muscles. Combine that with the hunched over posture of putting and carrying your heavy golf bag for a long duration can cause serious stain your back.
Back injuries are hard to fix, especially when you are not getting a quality night’s sleep. Let’s take a look at Tiger Woods and his sleep quality…or lack thereof. As we all know by now, Tiger has had a history of non-stop traveling and much more, and this has led to him not getting enough sleep. Infact, Tiger is known to have slept 3 – 4 hours per night. This is not good for recovery, especially with such a violent swing.
Tiger has been struggling with constant back issues for a number of years now and poor sleep isn’t helping.
Proper sleep on a quality mattress that offers you support is one of the quickest and easiest methods of reducing and fixing these common injuries. Having a bed that keeps the spine aligned and hips supported can go along way, especially when you have a pillow that can support your head and neck properly. One of the most effective methods in sleeping in a more natural state is with a body pillow. A body pillow allows for increased support of your head, shoulders, and neck as well as improving spinal alignment.
Better quality sleep has been proven to help golfers lower their handicaps. In a study done by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 24 golfers ages 55 and older were examined to see how sleep improved their game.
Of these 24 participants, 12 had moderate to severe sleep apnea and issues sleeping because of it. These 12 golfers were given CPAP masks for 6 months to help improve their sleep apnea issue, and after 20 rounds, they on average lowered their handicaps as much as 11.3% with the more skilled golfers improving by 30%.
If that isn’t proof that quality sleep helps your golf game, then I don’t know what is.
Whether you are a casual golfer looking to beat your buddies in your weekend round or a more competitive player looking to gain any edge to drop 1 or 2 strokes, evaluate the quality of your sleep and if you are sleeping on the best mattress you can be. Sleep, the performance enhancement people hardly talk about!
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