Are you on top of your game?
As the world’s top athletes prepare themselves for their toughest competition at the Rio Olympics this summer, sleep is their top training tool when it comes to getting the best from their rest.
I love sleeping. It’s quite possibly one of my favourite activities, especially when I get a good night’s rest. But if I’m being honest, I don’t get nearly enough or reach that level of quality sleep that leaves me rested in the morning. So when we heard about this study Stanford University conducted back in 2011 stating that athletes sleeping on average 10 hours a night had higher energy levels as well as showed significant improvements in their athletic achievements when compared to their counterparts who didn’t sleep quite as much. Now, I’m sure I know what you’re thinking. Who has 10 hours to dedicate to sleeping-that could be spent procrastinating or binge watching your favourite show on Netflix. I can’t sleep that long since I was a kid! I know, I know. It’s easier said than done for some of us.
But sleep debt is a serious thing, though often glamourized in our society and culture today. It can lead to decreased muscle mass, less growth hormones, and all around lower productivity. Also, it dampens concentration as well as has adverse effects on our mental and physical health with several other side-effects I’m sure we’ve all experienced at some point during our lives.
Still worried about hitting that 10 hour mark though?
Studies show that an adult needs, on average, about seven to eight hours to start performing at their peak, though of course, more is sometimes better if you’ve been operating on less recently. SO, what do you do if you’re still struggling to fall asleep or get the needed hours to perform at your best the next day?
There are several potential ways to start sleeping better. There’s even a whole committee dedicated to it over at The Sleep Council with great ways to actually start resting and fall asleep easier as well as better.
According to The Sleep Council, sleep plays a major role in your performance.
“Whether doing sport or at work, sleep is key to being on top of your game,” said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council. “Elite sportspeople know it is vital to build quality sleep into their training. All athletes, whatever their level, perform better if they have a good sleep routine.”
It does start with creating a routine before you go to bed. There are several studies showing that you shouldn’t eat after a certain hour, or that you should do yoga before, or any choices from a plethora of internet gurus. The best advice I have from someone who’s also seriously struggled with sleep debt is find what works best for you. For me, it’s turning my phone on silent and at an angle where I can’t see the screen light up at 2AM as well as a cup of herbal tea and meditation before I go to bed. It sounds nutty, but it’s worked wonders for me lately. And I’m the queen of needing an adequate night’s sleep or else I’m the reigning boss of Crankyville.
Anyway. In all seriousness, start placing a priority on your sleep quality. It may seem strange at first when we’ve all got crazy busy lives and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. But I can guarantee that your tomorrows and your todays will be far more productive as well as memorable if you’re operating on a great night’s sleep. And in the rare occurrence, once you have a habit made, that you don’t sleep well, there’s always the classic treat of a quad shot latte to perk you right back up.
For more advice on getting the best out of your rest, download the Good Night Guide from The Sleep Council’s website, www.thesleepcouncil.org.uk