5 Elite Athletes and Their Approach to Sleep
Three years ago, Burrard Massage Therapy discussed the benefits of better sleep habits. If you wake up early every day, you’ll also form a habit of sleeping early. It results in quality rest, which then helps you fight fatigue. This is the reason why athletes prioritize sleep aside from their rigorous training and healthy diet. It’s the best time to let the body and mind recuperate from sporting activities.
Different athletes have developed their own nighttime routines. Here are five elite athletes and their approach to recovery through sleep.
LeBron James — 12 hours
Because professional athletes exert a lot more energy than most people, they normally sleep more than the recommended 8 hours. LeBron James gets an average of 12 hours of sleep every night. This is an impressive feat considering that elite athletes often travel for games and it can be hard to get proper shuteye. Some practice games can last for hours and then there are late-night parties, too. It’s another display of discipline on James’ part. The athlete’s dedication to his sleep and fitness has clearly paid off as he is second in Ladbrokes’ list of the current highest earning sports stars on the planet. His passion for basketball is admirable, as he plays his heart out every game. Resting as much as he can allow him to do it all over again in the next match.
Andy Murray — Napping
2016 Olympics gold medalist Andy Murray loves to sleep. Like James, he also makes sure to get 12 hours of sleep every day and even takes naps—sometimes lasting 2 hours. The former world no. 1 male tennis player explained that “rest is so important. On the days when I am not playing I try to get in and do my work early, deal with everything else that has to happen, and then get home and have a nap.”
Gabby Douglas — Meditation
One of gymnastics’ Fierce Five, Gabby Douglas, has learned to honor her body at a very young age. Her days start at 7 AM and she is normally in bed by 8 PM but she doesn’t go to sleep right away. The 2012 Olympics all-around champion in women’s gymnastics has a secret for better sleep: meditation. The practice can clear the mind and helps you fall asleep faster. Mindful breathing boosts the body’s melatonin levels, the hormone that induces deep sleep. It’s the reason why Douglas feels so relaxed before bedtime.
Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue — Sleep monitor
Canada’s own ice-dancing team, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, have a more technical approach to sleeping. The 2018 Olympic gold medalists enlisted the help of a physiologist to improve their performance on ice. Their sleeping patterns were monitored, as well as their brain waves and heart rate. The expert used the data to personalize a sleeping schedule that will work best for the pair. Before heading off to South Korea, Virtue said, “I think that will put us at the start line feeling refreshed and energized, as opposed to exhausted by the end of the season.” Given the results of the Games, it certainly worked in their favor.
Michael Phelps — Sleeping chamber
Michael Phelps might be retired, but the American swimmer still holds the title as the most decorated Olympian of all time. Anything he does to maximize performance, down to his most unusual habits, is worth looking into. Phelps reportedly slept in a special sleeping chamber to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. Business Insider specified that the “giant box” replicates the barometric conditions in an altitude of 8,500 to 9,000 feet. This helps his body produce more red blood cells, which can then deliver more oxygen to his muscles. In other words, Phelps was essentially training even while he slept..
Article by Resha Johnson
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