How much sleep could you lose to the FIFA World Cup?

Soccer fans have no choice but to watch each and every world cup match – after all the FIFA World Cup only comes around every four years.

In the space of one month there has been a massive 48 matches in the first round, four quarter finals, two semi-finals and of course the final coming up. That a total of 53 soccer matches to watch in one month- around 1,76 matches per day to be accurate.

Whilst that may not seem too bad… we need to take into consideration the length of each of these soccer matches. As Sam Borden wrote for the NY Times after the US lost to Portugal Soccer’s elastic definition of time means that no player on the field, no fan in the stands and no announcer on television has any earthly idea as to when the last kick of the ball will come’.

So whilst technically each soccer match will consist of two 45-minute halves with 10 minutes of half time (a total of 100 minutes or 1 hour 40 minutes) there will be matches that require added time, extra time and even penalty shoot outs (a whopping total of up to 160 minutes or 2 hours 40 minutes).

So let’s be fair and round off each match to two hours.

With 53 matches we could be watching a whopping 106 hours of soccer this world cup… that’s 4,5 days of soccer!

In South Africa where the most tantalizing matches are scheduled in the late evenings we are looking at losing 90 minutes of sleep per evening. That’s a lot less sleep than we need when compared to the 7-8 hours we need each night to live well!

If you are feeling tired, take heart. We are four weeks in to celebrating this beautiful game and the glorious final is in sight. You can rekindle your love of sleep while waiting for the FIFA World Cup to kick off in Qatar in 2022.

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Why the world’s most expensive soccer player would do well to get some sleep

At the age of 26 years old, Neymar is Brazil’s most loved player of the beautiful game. He is also the world’s most expensive soccer player (he earned 255 million dollars last year…gulp).

His popularity is largely due to his skill in the final third of the field that sees him claiming victory for his team. He was given a rough ride when his Brazilian team drew 1-1 to Switzerland in the first round of the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2018.

Neymar was victim to 10 fouls (the most fouls committed against one player at a FIFA match in 20 years) that have resulted in what appears to be an ankle injury.

His coach, Tite, plans to start with Neymar in his team’s next big match against Serbia tonight.

Neymar would do well to schedule more sleep than his usual (10pm – 6:30am) into his daily rehabilitation plan. Here’s why:

  1. Sleep is the only time that the body repairs itself. In deep sleep, growth hormone is released which helps to repair bone, muscle and soft tissues.
  1. Heavy training sessions and sports performances require 10 hours of sleep per night to ensure complete recovery. Neymar played 90 minutes in the match against Switzerland so will need to prioritise sleep.
  1. When athletes get 10 hours of sleep they store more glucose in their muscles resulting in better reaction and sprint times. Neymar needs speed to score the goals his team needs.
  1. Sleep duration after training is also linked to improved muscle strength scores. If Neymar wants his shots to have speed and accuracy, sleep will be his secret weapon.
  1. The extra hours of sleep will also assist his mental agility, mood and alertness- this will help him make better decisions on the field.

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