Snoozing like an athlete can make winning your bedfellow. But how? We give you 6 tips and tricks from the latest science to see how rest affects your game, and show you how to improve your sleep and athletic performance
Sleep and athletic performance – 6 of the best tips to maximize both
1. Go to bed with a purpose that isn’t trying to sleep
“If you’re new to triathlons, go to bed and visualize your swim to bike transitions,” explains Chris Winter, author of The Sleep Solution. “Like playing soccer? Visualize 30 perfect corner kicks. Not only can the diversion of attention help with sleep initiation, but visualization also helps improve athletic skill.”
2. Sleep routine = gym routine
Even if you’re a drill sergeant when it comes to clocking those eight hours, be sure to establish regular snooze patterns. Staying regular increases happiness, health and calmness, found a paper by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Winning additions to anyone’s athletic game.
3. Don’t undervalue resting
“Taking time to stretch out and close your eyes in a dark, quiet, cool place can be restorative, even if you don’t sleep,” says Winter. “The success of a nap isn’t based upon whether you sleep. If you don’t, those 20 minutes are still valuable.”
A meta-analysis of all the evidence by the Journal of Sleep Research confirms Winter’s stance; Naps between 20 minutes and 2 hours in people who had been sleep deprived provided various benefits. Across the studies, benefits seen included improved vigilance, addition, logical reasoning, alertness and feelings of fatigue. Find a quite spot to rest your eyes.
Want better results? Don’t sleep tweet
NBA players who tweeted between 11pm and 7am had worse on-court stats in the following day’s game, scoring one less point and reducing their accuracy by 1.7% points, found a paper in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Leave the late night tweets to the oval office.
But understand that Twitter isn’t the common denominator – it’s the blue light emitted from your smart phone or computer screen that reportedly reeks havoc on your melatonin; the hormone that induces sleepiness
Take rest to the next level
“Try using a Muse device (choosemuse.com) to enhance your ability to quiet your mind,” suggests Winter. Technology is usually a no-go, but some gadgets are helpful exceptions.
Salt will wake you up
A paper at the European Association of Urology found that people who dropped their salt intake from 11 grams to 8 grams per day got up to do number ones approximately one time less per night, which obviously means better sleep. Play with your numbers in order to feel more rested, which will then transfer into better on-field performance.
Putting these six tips into practice will take you further up the path to becoming a champion. Champions have championship habits and these make the cut. Make sure you do too.
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