World Sleep Day: How Much Sleep Do The GOATs Get?

LeBron James LA Lakers
Photo: Twitter/NBA

You’re not getting enough sleep. In fact, the whole world is sleep hungry! Sleep study after sleep study has shown that adults across the USCanadaUKIrelandAustralia and more are not getting the suggested 7 hours which is considered optimal for adult health and wellbeing. delved into the lives of 20 superstar athletes across 9 disciplines to find out how many hours of kip the pros are getting.

Roger Federer Sleeps For A Huge 10.5 Hours of Per Night; Rafael Nadal Only Gets Unhealthy 5 Hours

Sleep is a priority for Roger Federer who top the rankings with a mammoth 10.5 hours of sleep per night, with 8-time Olympic Gold medallist Usain Bolt clocking in a healthy 10 hours. Novak Djokovic, who recently scooped his ninth men’s Australian Open title, gets a solid 9 hours, same as basketball players LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala.

Rafael Nadal is the most sleep deprived of all the athletes with just 5.5 hours per night. Unlike his fellow NBA stars, Chris Paul only sleeps for 6 hours a night, same as pro skateboarder Shaun White and Brazil soccer superstar Neymar. NFL quarterback Jared Goff clocks in with a lacking 6.5 hours per night.

NameSleep Hours
Roger Federer10.5
Usain Bolt10
Tom Brady9.5
Andre Iguodala9
Kevin Durant9
LeBron James9
Novak Djokovic9
Stephen Curry9
John Wall8
Patrick Peterson8
Phelipe Rodrigues8
Dan Carter7
Lionel Messi7
Serena Williams7
Simone Biles7
Jared Goff6.5
Chris Paul6
Shaun White6
Rafael Nadal5.5

The NBA Takes Sleep Deprivation Seriously

Further analysis highlights how much value basketball players and the NBA place on sleep. On average, NBA stars get a healthy 8.3 hours of sleep a night, with American footballers coming in second with 7.8 hours. Coming in last place are soccer players who get 30 mins less than the recommended daily 7 hours for adults.

SportAverage Sleep Hours

It’s not surprising that basketball players value sleep so much. In a study by Ken Berger exclusively looking at player performance and sleep, he found that sleep is a huge debt faced by the NBA. He showed that sleeping 8 hours or more a night resulted in:

  • 29% increase in points/minute
  • 12% increase in minutes played in player performance
  • 2% increase in three-point percentage

The negative impact of sleep deprivation was huge on player performance. Sleeping less than 8 hours increased turnovers by 37% and there was a huge 45% increase in fouls committed.

Nap Time Isn’t Just for Children, Students and Pensioners

You might think that nap time is just a pastime for children, students and pensioners, but many athletes swear by it! From the list of 20 sports stars, there are six that take naps during the day. Paralympic swimmer Phelipe Rodrigues is the biggest napper with 2.5 hours per day. Two of the six basketball players are regular nappers.

NameOvernight Sleep HoursNap HoursTotal Hours
Roger Federer10.5111.5
LeBron James9211
Tom Brady9.5110.5
Phelipe Rodrigues82.510.5
Stephen Curry9110
Lionel Messi718

Early Birds and Night Owls

Jared Goff, Tom Brady and sleep deprived Rafael Nadal are the earliest risers, waking at 5:30am to start practice. Usain Bolt who boasts a 10 hour sleep habit is the last up at 10am!

The majority of the athletes are all in the land of nod by 11pm; though it is Roger Federer and Tom Brady who turn in the earliest at 8pm. Last to hit the hay is Nadal, Bolt and Serena Williams who are up until midnight.

Sleep is important for everyone, but for athletes lack of sleep can result in sloppy play, miss opportunities and heightened injuries. Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” outlines the importance and cost (physical and financial) of inadequate sleep for the sports world. He highlights how athletes who sleep under 7 hours have a 65% chance of getting injured. While, they more than half their chance of getting injured to 30% simply by getting another hour or more of sleep per night.