5 Reasons Why Getting More Sleep Will Improve Your Poker Game

By James Guill
September 05, 2017

Poker players are constantly looking for ways to improve their play. Most will study the latest poker strategies or watch their favorite pros to try and catch that key nugget of information that will help them win more money.

However, there’s one thing that everyone can do to easily improve their poker skills: Get more sleep! It doesn’t take a professional sleep advisor to realize that too many poker players sacrifice shuteye to try and improve at poker when the reality is that getting more sleep is perhaps one of the best things you can do to improve your game. I can think of at least five reasons why, listed below.

1.  You Will Be More Focused

Do you find that you’re having trouble focusing for long periods at the table? More sleep can help improve your focus. A lack of focus is one of the key reasons players make mistakes in poker. Often this lack of focus comes from fatigue.

When you get sufficient rest each night, your focus will improve and you’ll find that you can focus longer during each session or tournament. Adults need a minimum of six hours of sleep per night with many doctors recommending around eight in order to be at peak functionality the following day.

READ MORE: Phil Laak sets Guinness World Record for longest continuous poker session

2.  Your Memory Will Improve

Sleep is important in helping us to process and retain information. During sleep the brain organizes information and remodels the synapses. This helps us remember important information over the long-term.

A lack of sleep can disrupt communication between the hippocampus, making it more difficult for the brain to retain information. Those of you that are putting in 14+ hour poker sessions and sacrificing sleep may win a bit more money, but over the long-term this may actually hinder your ability to improve.

3.  You’ll Be Less Likely to Tilt

When you get a proper night’s rest, your ability to control your emotions improves. If you need a classic example of this, look at most any young child or toddler at about 2 pm. Those who have not taken a nap are often cranky or start crying at the slightest provocation. Once they take a nap, this is usually corrected.

For adults, a lack of sleep can make us emotionally vulnerable, which can contribute to tilt. If you’re tired, things that wouldn’t annoy you suddenly piss you off to the point where you donk off your stack with 7-3 offsuit.

Adequate sleep allows us to control our emotions better, which results in less tilting at the poker tables.

good night sleep

4.  You’ll Make Better Decisions

When you’re well rested, you’ll make better decisions at the poker table. Improved memory will allow you to remember how opponents played against you or the killer strategy you employed to win 10 buy-ins in a session a week earlier.

You’ll think clearer and retain information more readily, which will allow you to make the best decisions at the table. Poker is all about making the best decisions and more sleep can help you make better decisions, which makes you more money over the long-term.

5.  Your Health Will Improve

Numerous studies have proven that getting more rest can help improve one’s health. People who lack sufficient sleep suffer from a wide variety of health conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease.

Adequate sleep is one key factor for improving one’s health and improved health will translate into better results at the table. In recent years, we’ve seen how a healthier lifestyle has resulted in positive results in poker, and sleep is one key building block to improving your health.

Pro Tip: Invest in a Quality Mattress Over a Copy of Super System (click here for some ideas of which one to get)

If you’re looking to make an investment on your poker game, consider upgrading your sleep. As already discussed, a quality night’s rest can significantly improve your poker game and your overall quality of life.

Investing in your sleep is a +EV investment that every poker player should make. So instead of buying the latest poker book, maybe you should consider buying a quality mattress or a new set of pillows for your bed. Pleasant dreams, and good luck at the tables.



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James Guill poker author
Written By.

James Guill

James Guill started his poker career playing semi-professionally from 2006 to 2008. In 2008, a colleague suggested he try his hand at poker writing and the rest was history. Since 2008, James has written for numerous publications including PokerNews, PokerUpdate, Ivey Poker, PokerJunkie, PokerListings and PokerNews Australia. James also spent several years providing content for […]


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