The Olympic motto is “citius, altius, fortius”; stronger, higher, faster. Every single olympic athlete wants to perform better. They truly do want to be the strongest swimmer, or the highest jumper, or the fastest runner. They go through years, sometimes decades, of training and competing to qualify for the Olympic games. But there is one element to their training that is often overlooked: their sleep habits. If you want to do more for your health and competitive edge than just get a new bed through Sleepy’s Delivery, try implementing these sleep habits.
The basis for all good sleep begins with the environment. There are four key elements to this environment that anyone can control: light, temperature, noise, and bedding material.
Most people have experienced the noises that are the most disruptive to sleep: banging doors, backfiring cars, screaming voices. Loud, unexpected sounds have the greatest impact on sleep and they are the ones we have the least control over. However, there are some ways to negate the impact of these noises. Olympic sleepers often utilize electric fans, white noise makers, or soft background music to help mask these potential disturbances. These background noises in your direct hearing area disrupt the sound waves from those louder noises and keep them from waking you up.
Comfortable Mattress and Plenty of Pillows
A high quality mattress is another essential to peak performance. The first consideration is the size of the bed. The Olympic village used to put all of the athletes in twin sized beds, but those proved to be too restrictive for comfort. Consider getting a bed that is at least full size, with a good plush top, strong springs, and enough pillows to adjust for personal comfort. There are as many different perfect sleeping positions as there are athletes. Have enough tools of sleep at your disposal to do it correctly.
Many Olympic athletes get up early and go to bed late. They often make up this lack of single block sleeping with power naps during the day. Our bodies are designed to sleep while it’s dark outside so sleeping during the day can be tricky. If you know you’ll be burning the midnight oil at work plan on installing blackout curtains where you’ll be sleeping. This will help trick your mind into letting you sleep restfully and get the full eight hours you need for optimum performance.
Keep Your Cool
Lab tests have shown that people sleep better in a cool room. Rooms in the Olympic village are kept on the cool side rather than toasty warm. To reach your full potential consider turning down the thermostat, keeping a few extra blankets handy if you need a little extra warmth, and get some of the best sleep of your life.
The other key elements to an Olympic quality sleep have to do with personal habits. Here are a few things to either avoid or do in order to improve your sleep.
One of the most important habits for Olympic sleep is to avoid the urge to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Waking up to the alarm clock, hitting snooze, sleeping again, waking up to the alarm again five minutes later, hitting snooze, and sleeping again actually works contrary to the body’s circadian rhythm. This is the rhythm that links our body to the light and dark, awake and asleep schedule that is part of our human DNA. The waking, snoozing, waking again, snoozing again schedule that many people follow can confuse the body and actually increase your exhaustion. It’s better to get up as soon as the alarm goes off and stay up until it’s time to sleep again. If this is a problem for you you might want to invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock that doesn’t have a snooze button.
8 is the Magic Number
So many sleep studies have been done about the amount of sleep needed for humans to maintain their best health and they all agree: 8 hours is the magic number. Every individual is unique of course and there is actually a time range for perfect sleep, anywhere from 7 to 9 hours. The key to making the most of that number is to realize that while the body needs 8 hours, it doesn’t need to get it all in one go. Sleep can actually be broken up into smaller segments, usually between 3-4 hours at a time.
Most athletes follow a no alcohol rule while in training. Alcohol may seem like a good way to relax and go to sleep, but the opposite is actually true. After the alcohol effect wears off sleep studies show that the sleep that follows is actually more fragmented and disturbed, leading to lack of deep sleep and poor performance. In fact, studies also show that not getting that good night’s rest can actually lead to delayed reactions on par with someone who has a 0.05 blood alcohol level. So skip the wine with the evening meal and you’ll see the benefit in your performance in the morning.
Give these Olympic tips a try and see if your success at work, training, or play increases.