• 12 Tips for Better Sleep- And Better Sports Performance

    Until recently, I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I knew it too. But I still fell prey to the myth that athletes, especially high-performing pros, don’t need a lot of sleep.

    But the truth is that sleep is essential for elite performance. Getting adequate sleep enhances our ability to learn, remember, and perform well.

    So once I made the decision to get more sleep I figured I’d just start doing it. After all, sleep is such a natural thing. It should come easy, right? Wrong.

    I needed help.

    I started digging into the issue and was surprised to learn what can hinder a good night’s sleep. For example, taking your problems to bed can keep you awake. So can talking shop too late, which can also keep your brain running overtime. And, of course, alcohol acts as a stimulant. Too much, and you may sleep restlessly or not at all.

    Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your sleeping habits. Harvard Medical School’s Healthy Sleep offers these 12 tips:

    1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep.
    2. Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment.
    3. Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine.
    4. Go to sleep when you’re truly tired.
    5. Don’t be a nighttime clock-watcher.
    6. Use light to your advantage.
    7. Keep your internal clock set with a consistent sleep schedule.
    8. Nap early—or not at all.
    9. Lighten up on your evening meals.
    10. Balance your fluid intake across the day.
    11. Exercise early.
    12. Follow through.

    Try them out, and start on your way to both a better night’s sleep and better sports performance.


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