As swimmers search for the latest thing to make them faster, I want to tell you about a new supplement on the market.

I shared this with the Texas Longhorns men’s
collegiate swim team. A team stacked full of Olympic athletes and medal winners. They were fascinated. This supplement, I told them, (I call it supplement Z) is freely available on the market, and you can overdose on it. I want you to take lots, I said. It
has incredible side effects, like higher performance, faster reaction times, speedy recovery rates, and you feel really happy on this stuff! The brain loves it as much as the body. The swim team stared at me. They wanted it. It’s called supplement Z, or
Zzz, and you can have it tonight 😉 Sleep!

Indeed sleep is performance enhancing for the body and brain, and all the side
effects are true. A scientific study on collegiate level swimmers showed just how
good more sleep is for athletes.  For six weeks swimmers were asked to sleep as
much as they could, 10hr a night if possible. Much longer than their usual 7hr. And
guess what? After the study and sleeping for an extra hour or more each night, they
started faster, swam faster, turned on the wall more efficiently, had a higher kick rate,
and became better swimmers. Sleep allowed their bodies to absorb their training, and express that training in a race. Sleep also enhanced their nervous system speed, allowing them to react faster, and work harder. Pretty amazing huh?!

If there is one thing you should do better to be better for your sport, it is to sleep
more. Spend as much time in bed as you can. Give yourself that opportunity. Your
swim times will thank you for it! 

Dr Richard Swinbourne, PhD

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