As one of the most important functions that feeds us with energy, sleep is vital to the health of every athlete. But more importantly, sleep affects the mood, well-being and most importantly – performance of an athlete during a competition or training. This being said, many athletes and Olympians have been undertaking serious measures to keep their sleep cycle as the most fundamental aspect related to their performance on the pitch, track or the pool.
You certainly know how slow you get and can’t complete a single assignment when being sleepy. However, after sleeping – the world seems like a better place. But why?
Apart from the reflection to our mood and energy, sleep is also essential for recovering ourselves. Poor quality of sleep always increases the risk to many illnesses and the disposition to injuries. So, if you are struggling with either not refreshing sleep, delays before falling asleep, a broken or restless sleep or an inability to wake up easily when sleeping longer, you definitely need expert advice on getting a quality sleep.
Sleep and exercise – A mutual bond
First of all, you should know that exercise depletes the energy and fluids in our body, working our muscles and requiring a lot of energy. That is also the reason why continuous exercising leads to better sleep – so if you don’t, start going to the gym, jogging or cycling – as some of the ways to improve your well-being in a better way.
But how to get a better sleep on the long run, and be a productive and happy person continuously?
The 3 methods for a quality sleep for athletes
1. Getting a consistent sleep
Sleeping consistently over a longer period of time is an expert advice as shared by many sportsmen and Olympians. Our body definitely needs to adapt to a sleep cycle of 8-10 hours per night without any breaks. If you are suffering from twitches in the eye or you are ruining your sleep cycle by sleeping 5 hours one night and 10 hours the next one, your poor sleep schedule will definitely have a negative aspect on your health and performance.
So, what you should do is sleep at least 7 to 9 hours per night and go to bed and wake up at the same times every day and night.
2. Optimizing the sleep environment
Your sleeping conditions also matter. Having a comfortable mattress, quiet environment and an absence of lights are some of the conditions required for a quality sleep. Additionally, the use of your TV, computer or smartphone screen prior to going to bed is considered as a ritual that may break up your sleep cycle, making it tough for you to get to sleep.
3. The forbidden substances
Drinking coffee before going to sleep may be your biggest problem – as doctors say, caffeine and sleeping pills are substances that directly affect our sleep habits. Just because they act as medications to a better sleep (sleeping pills) or to NO sleep at all (caffeine and energy drinks), they can easily harm our sleep schedule – and at many times result with headaches and fatigue on the morning after.
Getting a quality sleep is best when you take a warm bath before bedtime, drink chamomile or peppermint tea instead of coffee and most importantly, find a routine that works for you and stick to it – building a consistent sleep cycle where you will go to bed tired and wake up refreshed and happier than ever.