During normal training, before competitions and peak training phases I always try to accumulate as much sleep as possible. Yes, a solid nap and 8+ hrs of sleep every night makes me feel like a million Dollars. I swear it has made a huge difference in my entire career. Sleep can enhance your performance. Period. And, it’s free of charge. Of course,after a hard & long day at work or training my body & brain yearn to slow down to recharge the battery, so to speak. Doesn’t the same thing happen when your smartphone is running out of battery and makes funny noises to be charged? And, what are you going to do then? Well, of course plug it in and let it charge until its 100% loaded… Exactly!! So, I wonder why don’t we do exactly the same with our body? How can I expect to perform consistently at the top of my game if I regularly fail to give my the body & mind what it ask for? I have no idea. A lack of sleep is a recipe for disaster. Well, I make sure to go to bed early and I also try to take regular naps anywhere between 30 and 45mins. I have seen great performance improvements with athletes of mine who gave it a go and added one extra hour of sleep most nights. Even if you are super busy I’m sure you can find a 30 to 45mins window to sneak in a nap on the weekend. Every little helps, I like to say:)
Anyway, there is now a lot of great research out there on sleep and sleep deprivation and how it all affects recovery (production of growth hormones etc) and what happens when we enter REM stages (Rapid Eye Movement).
Here is my short list of things I follow to maximise my sleep quality and attain >8h/day of sweet dreams :
- No caffein before naps.No caffein after 4pm
- I love my bedroom to be cool. At night I like to keep the window open. Or, I turn on the A/C (here in Arizona it’s a must)
- keep the bedroom dark and quiet. I use an eye mask and ear plugs, especially when I travel and stay in hotels.
- I also learned to keep to a sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time.
- I work on my hydration all day long and avoid to drink too much before bedtime as you may end up too often waking up to go to the bathroom. But, that’s sometimes the way it is because we do need to hydrate…a LOT.
I highly recommend to invest into sleep as it is ‘free’ and helps to enhance your training quality and thereby performance (brain/body).