How to sleep well if you’re an athlete

Being an athlete means putting your body under copious amounts of strain and fatigue, both mentally and physically. Even losing up to an hour of sleep can significantly affect athletic performance, so it’s essential you do all that you can to sleep well.

TEMPUR looks at how to ensure a good night’s sleep if you’re an athlete and how sleep can boost athletic performance…

Sleep low down for athletes

Rest and recovery is critical for an athlete’s success and has been shown to improve performance, reaction time and mood, as well as enabling vital muscle recovery.

During sleep, the growth hormone for muscle repair is released which builds bones and burns fat. Athletes who do not get enough sleep will therefore not release as much of this key hormone, and as a result will not be as alert and may even risk injury.

Sleep experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults – but it has been suggested that athletes may need a bit more than this. Also, if athletes increase their amount of sleep before a competition or sporting event, it has been shown to have positive results!

Schedule your workouts

All top athletes follow a strict training regime often spending hours in the gym or on the track. However, it is vital to allow your body to rest between training sessions, as muscle growth occurs while the body is resting.

Pushing your body – and your muscles – to keep working while they are still repairing could lead to muscle tears and injury.

So, athletes should plan their workouts to include one or two rest days for every two to three sessions.

Tips for rest and recovery

Athletes should prioritise sleep above anything else, and make sure to get enough rest, especially in the run-up to a competition.

A good mattress is key! The best mattress for athletes will ensure a proper night’s sleep, which means more efficient muscle repair.

It is also important to keep the temperature in the bedroom cool, as athletes have a higher metabolic rate. This means that they tend to sweat more during the night, so a cooler bedroom temperature will keep excess sweat to a minimum, helping to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.

It also helps to wind down before going to sleep, for example, switching off mobile phones or other electronic devices, having a herbal tea, taking a bath filled with muscle soak, or reading a book. Athletes could also do some light stretching or yoga to relax their muscles further.

If you’re an athlete and have any tips on how to sleep well, please share them in the comments below…




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