Cavs' LeBron James Admits He's 'Not Sleeping': The Importance of Quality Sleep For Athletes

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Jun 11, 2015 08:03 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavalier's LeBron James admitted that he hasn't been sleeping to keep his team in line while preparing for the NBA Finals.

With the Cavs fighting on with only six players, James is continually pushing forward as the "sole leader of a team and franchise," New York Post has learned.

"You guys can see I'm not getting much sleep right now, but I'm OK with that. I'm OK with not sleeping to be able to prepare myself and mentally keep myself intact on what's the main objective for me right now," James said on Wednesday, after a team practice at Quicken Loans Arena.

"That's to make sure my guys are laser sharp, [and] get myself mentally prepared, physically prepared to go out and battle."

In their six-man team, Mathew Dellavedova suffered from cramps while Iman Shumpert is dealing with a shoulder injury. Despite these health issues, the Cavaliers won Game 3 with 96-91 against the Golden State Warriors earlier that day in the same arena.

The team received news that Dellavedova was released from obtaining treatment for severe cramping at Cleveland Clinic, and Shumpert has revealed that he has only bruised his left shoulder. Fox Sports reports that the two will play on Game 4.

With James' lack of sleep, will the team be alright? Sleeping is crucial for an athlete's performance and although not getting any sleep doesn't automatically make you tired the next day, it can cause your body not to perform well.

According to sports medicine specialist David Geier, it is important to have enough sleep.

"Getting enough sleep is crucial for athletic performance," Geier said, as per WebMD. He added that athletes in training generally need more sleep due to rigorous training that makes the body need more time to repair itself.

Studies have shown that sleep can improve speed, reaction time and accuracy among athletes. All three are crucial elements in performing well in the game.

Dr James Maas, a sleep performance expert from Cornell University, believes sleep should come hand in hand with training.

"They [Athletes] think that because they eat well or appear to be in good athletic shape that this is enough. But they are missing 1/3 of the equation. We have been studying the effects of sleep deprivation both athletically and cognitively for years. And we also have studied lack of sleep with basic physiology," he said via Baseball News.

"Obviously, when the brain and body is tanking because of lack of sleep, the athlete can't perform at his highest level. So the athlete shows drowsiness, an increase in irritability, anxiety, depression and weight gain," he explained.

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