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Sleep Sensitivity

Candace Parker Discusses Why Sleep Is So Important to Her

Photo: Courtesy of Ryan Pfluger

As a professional basketball player, the Chicago Sky’s Candace Parker knows that getting enough sleep is incredibly important. We talked to her about how her sleep habits have changed since becoming a mother, and her advice to aspiring players.

As a championship basketball player, wife, and mom, how many hours of sleep do you get each night?

I try my best to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night, but it all depends on the time of year if I’m traveling back and forth for broadcasting and playing in addition to my other work commitments and helping my daughter, Lailaa, during these virtual school times.

Why do you think our country has such an issue with sleep deprivation?

For me, sleep is essential for my health, productivity, and well-being. It is vital – sleep helps restore my body and mind and fuels my body’s ability to concentrate, remember, and learn.

How has your relationship with sleep changed since being in the WNBA? How has it changed since becoming a mother?

As an athlete, sleep quality is very important because of all the traveling to different time zones for games and the restoration it provides to muscles. I treat sleep with the same importance as training and diet to achieve optimal performance for my body and mind.  Early on, when Lailaa was younger, I got sleep where I could, but now that she’s older, I think it’s important for her to see me making sleep a priority and getting well rested so I can tackle each day with the same energy and passion.

What advice do you have for young aspiring players looking to stay healthy and physically fit during the ongoing pandemic?

During these unprecedented times, it is especially important to maintain a regular schedule as much as possible. Try to keep a consistent bedtime to help your body physically and mentally recharge. Continue to eat healthy and drink lots of water. Maintain a positive attitude – focus on the things that are in your control and continue a line of communication with your coach and teammates.

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