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Two coaches watch players in practice, with their back to the camera

Young people are consistently overtired, impacting their behaviour and choices. Poor sleep environments, blue light emitting technology, and peer pressure all impact the quality and quantity of their sleep. 

They should be sleeping 8-10 hours a night, and if you know a young person, you’ll know they’re getting nowhere near this. No wonder they’re always tired. 


You might never have heard of the circadian rhythm. But essentially, it’s your 24-hour body clock. It works in harmony with the earth’s rotation and is influenced by daylight, temperature, and mealtimes. It’s why you feel so jet-lagged after changing time zones. 


It regulates: 

  • eating and sleeping patterns 
  • hormone production 
  • mood 
  • digestion
  • alertness. 

It’s part of all of us, but we all have slightly different rhythms. Children wake up early and go to sleep early. Whereas teenagers wake up late and go to bed late. This is a massive shift for those moving into the 12-16 age group, and you need to be aware of it.  

This difference in rhythm is caused by the hormone that induces sleep (melatonin) being released up to two hours later in teenagers than in adults. 

Young people are already battling technology, poor sleep environments, and peer pressure when it comes to sleeping. Add to that, we make them go to bed hours before their body wants to and wake up hours earlier than they’re ready to. On average, they lose nearly three hours of sleep every night. 


As a coach, influencing a player’s sleep can be difficult as it’s so far removed from training and matches. But by explaining how it impacts their performance on the pitch and recovery afterwards, you might be able to connect with them. Try showing them this video of the England men’s team talking about their routine, so they can see how their role models feel about sleep. 

Remember, it’s about getting better quality and quantity of sleep. Here are a few tips: 

  • Use The Greater Game resources to support your conversations. 
  • Celebrate healthy changes. 
  • Relate sleeping well to playing better. 
  • Consider your training and match times – can you make them later on the weekends, to allow young people to catch up on sleep?
  • Engage with other coaches on the England Football Community.  

You can have an influence off the pitch by engaging with parents and carers, pointing them towards the resources specifically designed for use at home. Building relationships with parents and carers allows you to provide a broader understanding and education on the benefits of sleeping well. 

It might seem like you’re fighting society, technology, and even biology when it comes to getting your players to sleep better. But by using The Greater Game knowledge and resources, you can inspire them to make one healthier choice when it comes to sleep. 

To learn more about The Greater Game and sleeping better, check out our specially designed learning modules here