Sleep in athletes is a challenge and athletes generally don’t get as much sleep as they should get to help improve training and performance. Randall Cooper sat down with Shona Halson from ACU's School of Behavioural and Health Science, to ask her what her 3 Top Tips on how athletes can maximise their sleep.
Don’t stay up late for something you wouldn’t get up early for
The first one is the one I always talk about, never stay up late for something you wouldn’t get up early for. If an athlete stays up late watching tv episodes and suddenly it’s midnight, and then you ask the athlete if they would set their alarm early to do that, and they say of course not. Why would you stay up late if you’re not going to get up early for it. We need to make sure we’re not cutting sleep off unnecessarily.
Nobody sleeps perfectly every night of the year
Secondly, I think this one is important because nobody sleeps perfectly every night of the year, so I think we have to have an understanding that that’s ok. We don’t want to get too overstressed and too concerned about having the odd bad night. It’s really about consistency, and about what we do as often as possible.
So my second tip is really about being as consistent as you can and not getting too hung up on the fact you might have a couple of bad nights here and there.
Don’t get hung up on the numbers
My third tip is around monitoring, I’m often asked which is the best device to monitor sleep, and it’s not really about what the best device is. They’re all similar in a lot of ways, it’s more about how you interpret the data, how easy it is to understand. Then it’s all about making changes with the data you have.
It’s important to not get too hung up on the data, and the numbers, but using that data to actually make some changes and improve, your practices and habits based on those numbers in front of you.
Check out the full podcast where they discuss in depth how much sleep an athlete needs in the latest episode of The Journal Club with Randall Cooper here: