A lot has been written about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, so what can an athlete possibly add? Plenty. Like most athletes, I measure and monitor my vitals closely to help optimize performance. Sleep is no exception. By using my Fitbit to quantify sleep metrics, I’ve been able to try new techniques to improve the quality of my slumber. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Let’s start with the basic stuff. Of course it’s important to ensure that your sleeping quarters are dark and quiet — that’s a given. Another known tip: unplug and try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bed. Why? Studies have found that the blue light these devices emit can disrupt the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, get ready to add these expert tips to your routine to catch better Z’s at night and wake rested and refreshed:
1. Use The “Countdown” Method
We’re bombarded with so much stimulation throughout the day that it’s hard not to carry these burdens with us at night. To help put yourself to sleep, try counting down from fifty. Focus only on the counting. If your mind wanders, as it will, come back to the countdown. It takes some mental discipline to remain focused, but doing so is a great way to reclaim the notion of doing one thing at a time. Make time for the countdown. I rarely get below thirty before falling asleep. Give it a go!
2. Repurpose Your Running Gear
Drape a running arm sleeve over your eyes to help keep the light out. I’ve tried many eyeshades to create blackout conditions but feel like they’re restrictive and binding. Instead, I use a black arm sleeve from Zensah. I just cover it over my eyes and it does the trick without feeling like something is clinging to my noggin.
3. Prioritize Proper Bedding
Keeping your body cool and comfortable is essential for a good night’s rest. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for sleep is somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees fahrenheit. Sheets can make all the difference. Find bedding that keeps you dry and cool. Personally, I love Sheex Performance Bedding.Their wares aren’t cheap, but staying cool and dry at night is worth every penny.
I hope you find these suggestions utterly sleep inducing. Try them and see. Fifty, forty-nine, forty-eight…