How To Get Better Sleep and Why Athletes and High Performers Need To Prioritize ItApr 18, 2023
We’ve all heard that sleep is a vital component of our overall health and well-being. Am I right?
In our world today, it is SO normalized to get shitty sleep and be okay with it.
Especially as for overachieving humans and athletes, BUT It does not have to be that way. We have crappy sleep not because we don’t care, but because we are usually SO busy with having a full plate, that we push our bedtime to later and later and later… And sometimes our anxiety gets in the way! 🤯
Who has ever stayed up way later than you wanted to because your brain was running through a million thoughts of what you still have to do or replaying how the day went?! Umm me! As someone who has struggled with the ol’ anxiety and sleep combo, I understand this first hand.
It is absolutely critical to establish a healthy sleep routine and stick to it.
In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of sleep for athletes and high performers, how screens affect our sleep, and I’ll talk about some tips for establishing a healthy sleep routine. 😴💤🏋️♀️🏆
First and foremost, for athletes sleep is essential for physical recovery. Straight up science.
When we sleep, our bodies undergo repairs and regeneration, helping us to recover from workouts and reduce the risk of injury. I can remember some pretty terrible practices and games that I played in at the University of New Mexico because I had started deprioritizing sleep. I had a hard time focusing, had brain fog and was super slow and sluggish. Back then I was so much more focused on my physical performance, and I didn’t see the sleep + performance connection 😳 Being under-slept is definitely not a great look for an athlete!
Sleep also helps regulate our emotions and improve cognitive function. 💪🧠
Oh yes. Sleep plays a huge role in our mental health. When we are not getting quality sleep, we are more on edge, agitated and more likely to not take feedback well from our partners, parents or coaches. The sleep+ emotional connection is REAL.
Screens can have a significant impact on our sleep quality.
Particularly for athletes and high performers who often use technology as a part of their work and training, the blue light emitted by screens suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep, which is no bueno! This makes it SO much more challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep. 😵📱💻
So, what can athletes and high performers do to establish a healthy sleep routine? Here are some tips:
- ☑️Create a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. ⏰
- ☑️Wind down before bed: Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime, and instead read, taking a bath, light a candle, do some yoga, roll or stretch.
- ☑️Create a sleep-conducive environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and COOL, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. Sleeping at a cooler temp than we are used to is KEY for good sleep!
- ☑️Limit caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep, so it's best to limit them, especially in the evening. Caffeine has a 12 hr half-life (crazy I know!) So have your caffeine cutoff be somewhere around 12pm!
By prioritizing sleep and establishing a healthy sleep routine, athletes and high performers can reap the many benefits of a good night's rest, including improved physical and mental recovery, better cognitive function, and increased performance. 😴💪🧠🏆 Not to mention your relationships will improve because you will be a more emotionally stable human. We’ve all been around someone that is a cranky pants - Don’t be that person!
Sleep = you being a better human and everyone will appreciate you for it! ☺️
To wrap up, sleep is a critical component of our overall health and well-being, and athletes and high performers should make a healthy sleep routine our number one PRIORITY. 🙌🏼 We can do this by reducing screen time, creating a sleep-conducive environment, not eating right before bed, and establishing a consistent sleep schedule. Commit to implementing your healthy sleep routine today and let me know how it goes! I promise you your body and brain will thank you 🙏🏼. 💤