6 Essential Tricks Used By Athletes To Achieve A Healthy Sleeping Cycle

1st July , 2021

Most athletes know that proper sleep is crucial for optimum performance. Sleep allows for adequate rest and revival of muscles on top of facilitating cognitive functioning. When we are asleep, our bodies repair exhausted tissues, top-up stamina levels, and help us regain general levels of alertness. Numerous studies have shown that even a small degree of sleep deprivation can substantially decrease athletic performance. Because of this importance, most training programs and schedules come with rest days and proper sleeping patterns built into them. There are many techniques and tips that athletes use to ensure adequate sleep to maximize athletic performance. 

Wind-down Routine

Many athletes say that a general 20 to 30-minute wind-down routine helps them transition from a state of alertness to that of sleepiness. The routine could include reading a physical book (because electronic books emit too much light), stretching, meditation, or yoga. This could also be a short breathing exercise before bed which can help you calm your heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, and more. A routine can only be developed over time, and once firmly established, it can significantly facilitate better, longer, and healthier sleep. 

Proper diet

Almost all studies have linked diet and metabolism to sleep patterns. For example, eating right before bed activates the metabolic system, resulting in an inability to fall asleep faster. Items that contain caffeine, such as coffees, teas, energy drinks, and soda late at night can directly result in a lack of sleep. Alcohol is linked with reduced REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycles, on top of delayed sleep onset. Therefore, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, especially before going to bed, is an essential step in getting a good night’s sleep.

Right equipment

The right mattresses and pillows are essential, especially for athletes who deal with aches and soreness daily. A high-quality foam mattress can assist with applying the right amount of pressure in the right areas, thereby increasing the quality and increasing the benefits derived from sleep. To retain the sleep-inducing qualities of the mattress, it should be changed approximately every 5-8 years. Best mattresses and the right equipment can directly result in significantly better sleep cycles.

Stay away from screens

Electronic screens emit lights and radiation that will keep the eyes from relaxing. Getting rid of screen stimulation – including the television, smartphones, computer screens, and other distractions at least an hour before bedtime can significantly increase the quality of sleep and the ease with which one can fall asleep. 

Planned naps

Napping can be highly beneficial to those who have to wake up early for training and practice sessions routinely. When planned correctly, naps can counteract this usual lack of sleep. Napping can be beneficial before a session involving skills and tactics. Many basketball players recommend taking a 20-minute nap before the game to improve shot accuracy. 

Time the training sessions properly

Working out and training right before going to sleep is not a good idea. Physical exertion increases the rate of metabolic activities in our body and isn’t conducive to relaxation. Ideally, exercise or training should be done four to six hours before bedtime so that by the time the body has sufficiently cooled down and is ready to go to sleep. 

One cannot stress the importance of a good night’s sleep to optimum athletic performance enough. The right environment and proper equipment, along with a balanced diet and suitably timed workout regime, can be conducive to long, healthy, and quality sleep.

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