Why is proper sleep important to athletes over the age of 30 years old?

A facetious answer to this question is that proper sleep is important to all athletes regardless of age.  The general purpose of sleep is to restore brain function and we require good quality sleep all throughout our lives in order to achieve this primary goal.  I think we all can agree that no matter the task at hand, whether it is a sporting event or a highly intellectual project, we are best served with having optimal brain function in order to perform at our best.  For the athlete specifically, a well rested brain is better able to make decisions, be creative, communicate, be motivated and withstand the mental and physiologic rigors of the competition or training exercise.  Recent data also suggests that learning a new athletic skill is closely tied to the quality and quantity of our rapid eye movement sleep (REM), a time in our sleep when we typically dream.  These studies showed that athletes