Athletes are always looking for ways to improve their performance and skills. They know that to be the best they can be, they have to make sacrifices. Often that means adhering to strict practice schedules, following an exercise regimen, eating a quality diet that fuels the body for optimal performance; and committing to proper rest and recovery.
Quality sleep helps ensure that athletes can perform at their peak. This advice shouldn’t just apply to athletes, though. A proper sleep routine is beneficial for every human being; top performance isn’t only important in the field or on the court. Why wouldn’t you want to perform at your best in every area, whether that’s at work, school, with your hobbies, or in your everyday life? Here are some tips to help maximize your sleep like athletes do, even if you aren’t one.
Treat it Like Training
Athletes know that to get better, they need to have a healthy routine that includes diet, activity, and rest. It often takes several weeks to form a proper routine, and getting quality, restful should be treated the same way. To sleep like an athlete, it’s important to stick to a set time for sleeping and waking; consistency is key.
Sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms that are similar to being intoxicated. You wouldn’t hit the gym if you were drunk, so you probably shouldn’t hit the gym if you’re deprived of sleep either. Not only will you not perform your best, but it can also be unsafe.
If you need to hit the hay earlier to be able to get enough sleep, start by slowly scaling back to the appropriate bedtime. Your body can be trained to go to sleep early, but it can take a few weeks of gradually moving your sleep time back to make it a long-term change.
Eat the right foods So You Can Sleep
Eating right helps with weight loss, quality sleep, and gives you the energy to perform. Foods that are high in fat are not sleep-friendly, as they raise body temperature. When your body heat rises, you may be unable to easily fall asleep and stay that way.
Low-fat foods will prevent body temperature from getting too high. Caffeine and sugar can also give an unnecessary boost of energy close to the bed, so foods that contain those ingredients should be avoided in the evenings.
Any athlete will tell you that exercise helps them sleep better at night. Not only because it tires out the body but it makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
If you work in an office and find that you spend much of your time sedentary, adding exercise to your daily routine will help you sleep better at night.
As a bonus, you’ll also notice an increase in your daily work performance. Exercising can counteract the effects of some of the sugar-laden and processed foods that are so often a part of making a busy schedule work.
This one seems counter intuitive. How can sleeping earlier in the day help you fall asleep when you need it most? In North America, napping isn’t as common as it is in other continents.
However, napping helps re-energize the body, providing the ability to train and work harder in the period after the nap. Napping or taking a rest during the middle of the day can improve performance and help keep you sharp and alert throughout the day.
This might even be a good solution for tired office workers; productivity might spike if a national nap program was established.
Use the Best Sleep Equipment
Most athletes are particular about the equipment they use to compete. They want to be comfortable with what they use, but they also need something that performs well. The same goes for sleep. You need to be picky when it comes to the places where you sleep. This includes having a bed fit for an athlete. Click here to check out some mattresses for athletes. It also includes sleeping in the right environment. Darkness is best, as having artificial light from a television or a hallway lamp can interrupt the sleep cycle.
Get In the Right Headspace
Athletes prepare for every game, race, or competition by getting in the right frame of mind. They may repeat some affirmations, or even listen to music to get them pumped up. To sleep right, a person must have the right mentality as well. This might mean meditating before lying down or doing some stress relief techniques to calm the mind and body.
To sleep like an elite athlete, behave like an elite athlete. Getting the right amount of quality sleep doesn’t happen by accident. It requires forming good habits and following a routine, just like training. Give it a try for a few weeks and you’ll be surprised just how much of a difference it makes.