Recently, I was approached by Casper, a sleep company and they wanted to share their guide, Sleep Like A Champion: Sleep Tips For Athletes. Being that my blog focuses so much on running and training, I wanted to share the guide with you and also include some of my tips for getting a good night's sleep.
Last year, I started a goal for myself to sleep at least 8 hours a night. I don't end up getting that many hours each night but I'm working on it and know that getting enough rest is essential in order to perform and run at my best. Here are some tips that have helped me in the sleep department.
- Set a strict time to be in bed every night. When I know that I have to be in bed by a certain time, I subconsciously re-arrange my schedule in the day and procrastinate less. I get more things done because I know I have to be in bed by 11 (or whatever time it is for you).
- No electronics an hour before lights out. I'm terrible at this because I love catching up on Instagram, but looking at a bright phone screen before sleep tricks the brain into thinking it's daytime and prevents the release of melatonin. This makes the body take longer to fall asleep. My aim is to read a book or magazine instead of looking at a screen.
- It's important to sleep well two nights before a race. This is good news for me because I always have race day butterflies and usually don't sleep much the night before a race. It turns out, getting a good amount of sleep two nights before is more beneficial to having a good race day performance. On race day, you're already mentally prepared for waking up early and focused on a goal, so the lack of sleep doesn't make as much of an impact.
- Keep it cool. I've noticed that I sleep way better when I'm at a comfortable temperature—not too hot and not too cold, though I prefer it on the chilly side. According to studies, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60–67°F.
- Take a mid-day nap. If I've missed out on sleep during the night, I'll take a quick nap after work to catch up on some rest and I'm instantly refreshed! A short power nap increases alertness after waking up.
- Women need more sleep than men. Because women multi-task and use more of their brain power during the day, they need about twenty more minutes of sleep each night.
- Get a dog. Not really, but I love that Izzy snuggles next to me every night. It's comforting and makes me happy. By the way, have you seen Casper's dog mattresses? I think Izzy needs one!
The Casper guide below was so useful for me because it includes sleep tips for athletes, benefits of each sleep cycle for recovery and other interesting statistics. I hope it'll be helpful for you too!