How to maximize sleep as an athlete
Picture this; you’re in the gym hitting a nice back and bi’s workout…
You’re feeling the nice squeeze in your biceps and back as you pull the bar down to your chest…
But suddenly as you go for one last rep, your right bicep pops up to your shoulder.
Now why would I make you picture such a painful incident? That’s what happens if you don’t get enough sleep.
I know so many athletes who sleep less than 7 hours a night - which will not only lead to the picture painted out above, but to :
- Fewer gains
- Being slower in game
- Not feeling alert
- Lower testosterone :(
Having played ball at a high level, I understand how busy athletes’ days get so here’s how to maximize your sleep - as an athlete or if you know someone who is.
1. Stop playing/training too close to bed
Yes, I know how fun and good it may feel to train at night, but its affecting your sleep if it’s too close to your normal bedtime.
But let me ask you; after you train or especially after a game, how hyper are you?
I’m sure my athletes can relate to not being able to sleep after night games or practice.
That’s because your body is dehydrated after you train (totally normal) making your body hotter and raising your heartbeat.
So I’d recommend leaving at least 2.5 hours between your training time and bedtime to let your body transition into a cooler and more relaxed state.
2. Eating too close to bed
This doesn’t just apply to athletes, but I know a ton, including myself, of athletes who have that nightly protein shake or meal.
Can’t miss out on em’ overnight gains. But…
It disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm at night.
But if you’re really a night muncher, try going for fruits and low-protein snacks to go easy on your digestive system.
3. The blue light! It's so bright!
Well this applies to everyone, but for you guys especially.
You just finished a hard day of training and you wanna sit back and enjoy some TV or youtube.
And that’s fine as long as you space it out before actually going to bed.
Because your body won’t shift as easily to resting mode if there’s blue light coming into your nervous system.
Think of blue light as the sun. You don’t want to sunbathe right before bed, but if you space it out it’s fine.
4. Stress management
Ah the classic stress. In these times, I’d be surprised if you weren’t stressed.
And if you mix the current world events with an athlete’s night before a big game, oh boy.
But on a real note, stress leads to a jar of random thoughts before bed and a ton of anxiety.
That’s why you should step away from the noise; social media, news, TV. And rather just meditate or read.
Now here’s the important part - sleep with a weighted blanket in bed. These boys are proven to reduce stress by 70% according to occupational therapists.
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