How to sleep like a pro (athlete)

Guide, Rawness While sleep is important for everyone, it may play a specific role for elite performers. Sleep is particularly important for athletes striving to be at their peak performance, as sleep can impact cognitive and physical performance, as well as training, recovery and overall health. And you don’t have to be a pro athlete to benefit from better sleep, on the contrary, the more untrained you are, the more recovery is needed for both body and mind.

The science of sleep is currently the hottest topic in wellness, health and active lifestyle. We will cover some of the latest trends and advice that will help you get better sleep and a more fulfilling life. In part 1 we give you some practical guidance in how to sleep like a pro (athlete).

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If you ask leading athletes, the secret to that success is clear: They prioritize sleep.

While sleep is important for everyone, it may play a specific role for elite performers. Sleep is particularly important for athletes striving to be at their peak performance, as sleep can impact cognitive and physical performance, as well as training, recovery and overall health. And you don’t have to be a pro athlete to benefit from better sleep, on the contrary, the more untrained you are, the more recovery is needed for both body and mind.

sleepathlete

Some research has shown that even as little as one night of partial sleep deprivation can affect peak heart rate levels, plasma lactate concentrations and ratings of perceived exertion, which all affect exercise performance.  

There are many ways to measure performance and the effect of sleep deprivation may also depend a lot on the athletic activity. While agreed that aerobic and muscular power may not be affected by sleeplessness, most complex athletic activities require fine motor skills, such as visual tracking, decision making, vigilance, and others, which are affected by sleep loss.

How to sleep like pro!
In other words, athletes are just like the rest of us. Sleeplessness affects cognitive, fine motor skills and/or emotional factors in athletes — and in people who work a desk job. Here are three essential sleep tips. Chances are, they’ll help anyone feel and perform better:

  1. Make sure you get enough hours of sleep every single night

It is recommended that pros and ambitious athletes get 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. So that is 1-2 hours more than the recommendation for the average person. But when you are stressing body and mind heavily for long periods you need more time for recovery. Sleep is a better tool than any ice bath or liniment.

  1. Follow a wind down routine

A wind down routine is key for transitioning from the day to preparing for sleep. It is recommended that athletes spend 20 to 30 minutes stretching or practicing yoga before hitting their sheets and use the time strategically to process their thoughts. And don’t, serioulsy DON’T use your mobile phone or any other technical gear during the last hour before sleeping. Preferably don’t even have any tech gear in the bedroom at all. Use a traditional alarm clock instead!

  1. Nap when needed

Naps are very commonplace for pro athletes, so even you should consider this as a remedy. Athletes often nap after practice, before games, on flights or during any down time they have. Many athletes find it easiest to nap in the afternoon because there is a dip in the circadian clock then. At work – try to find a conference room that you can darken and try to get some 15-20 minute nap. If your boss argues about it, just explain that you will become much more effective – and profitable – if you are allowed to sleep during work time!

 

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