Sleep - something we all do daily.
Similar to nutrition, Sleep is something we all do daily. It’s not another thing we have to add to our training toolbox because we all do it every night. This short post is about the top 3 tips to consider when you’re trying to improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Be consistent: Your body is smart! It will adapt to the stresses we put it under. So, if you only sleep 4 hours every night, it will learn how to cope. Lucky us. Tip number 1 is be consistent with your bedtime. This is what I want you to train and practice, just like you practice your sport! For example, shut your phone off at 9 pm, so you can officially end your day and be sleeping by at least 10 pm. The I-phone has an easy bedtime reminder in the alarm clock settings. Optimal hours for athletes training full time is a minimum of 8 hours. Basically, the longer you sleep, the more sleep cycles you put in the “sleep bank”. The average sleep cycle is 90 minutes.
2. Block light and sound: We mentioned above, that your sleep cycle is about 90 minutes. In that 90-minute time period your body cycles through different stages of sleep, some light, some deep. When it cycles through the light stages, light and sounds can wake you up and mess with your recovery & sleep hygiene. Take control of this problem, sleep with your eyes covered or if you’re lucky, your windows have the right shades that block out all light.
3. Block out sound by sleeping with earplugs. Foam earplugs fall out of my ears, so I use silicone earplugs, like Mack’s. When I’m in the USA, I also get the CVS brand and those work well. Same reasons as above, sounds will disrupt you when you cycle into your light sleep. Note that some people, like me, are pocket-size and have small ears. So, you might need to try the kids-size earplugs if you find that your ear feels sore.
So, in summary, block out the sensory stimulation you get from light and sound during your light stages of sleep.
4. Cool room: Sleeping in a cool room helps you fall to sleep quicker and stay a sleep. If it’s too hot or too cold, your body will have to waste energy trying to get comfortable, which makes you toss and turn. Sleeping between 19-21 degrees C (66-69 degrees F) helps set the right environment for sleeping and releasing melatonin, a hormone in your body.
These are 3 simple tips we want to make sure all our athletes are doing well! If you’re still having trouble sleeping, let your parents or coach know so they can find you some help.
Yours in Performance-
Coach Nicole Rodriguez