Why Sleep Is The Ultimate Performance Enhancer

Just ask an NBA superstar.

We know that a good night's sleep makes us feel great... but it turns out the effects go far beyond a warm, snuggly feeling.

This is something Metta World Peace knows all too well. As a high-performing professional basketball player for nearly 20 years, Metta spoke with Arianna Huffington and other sleep experts on a panel at UCLA as part of The Huffington Post's #SleepRevolution College Tour.

When asked how sleep patterns affect his time on the court, Metta had an game-changing statistic to share.

"When I [get enough sleep], I perform at least 30 percent better during a game," Metta said. "My muscles are better, and my mind is fresh. It's a performance enhancer."

“I perform at least 30 percent better during a game."”

- -Meta World Peace, on getting a full night's sleep

Metta says sleep wasn't a priority during his younger days in the NBA, but now he sticks to a bedtime of 9 p.m. And with it, he notices a BIG difference.

UCLA gymnast Danusia Francis agrees. She too considers a good night's sleep the key to her athletic performance, which has made her a three-time All-American.

"Being over 18 [years old], we're considered 'old' for gymnasts... And as the years progress, you notice the difference when you don't get enough sleep," Francis said on the panel. "Sleep improves your performance. This season, I've gotten more sleep and seen the results."

While the "30 percent" number is more of a personal analysis than a quantitative fact, science certainly confirms the idea that more sleep will put you in a better place to perform, whether that's on the basketball court or in the car.

A recent study found that after going 17 hours without sleep, alertness and wakefulness is similar to driving while mildly drunk with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent. A lack of sleep -- or disruptions in sleep patterns -- is also associated with problems in higher thinking, planning and calculation, not to mention health risks that run the gamut from heart disease to cancer if sleep loss becomes prolonged.

So if you want to be a pro basketball player -- or simply nail your presentation at work tomorrow -- it's key to get seven to nine hours of z's. Join the #SleepRevolution, and sleep your way to peak performance.

#SleepRevolution College Tour Gets Students Thinking About Zzzs