Even though person B got more hours of sleep, person A has the advantage. One of the main benefits will be improved sleep quality. Your body gets in a routine and the quality of sleep improves.
It is generally difficult to have the exact same sleep and wake times every night, but this is one of the most important components of quality sleep.
The variable schedules in sports can make it hard to always win the sleep game. But it’s your responsibility to make the most out of your situation.
Find Solutions Not Excuses
The best way to start getting more sleep is to start tracking your sleep. You can’t hide from the data. By measuring it and seeing the hard numbers you will naturally find ways to start winning the sleep game.
The good news is there are various apps to help track the quality of sleep as well as many other important metrics and data – notably the Whoop – is one I’ve used personally and have had many of my athletes utilize.
The most common excuse for a lack of sleep has to do with going to bed on time. You can either make up excuses or find a way. You have a lot of homework to do, then get it done early. You have late practices, then find time to get in a nap.
We see athletes going to bed too late, yet they spend 2 to 3 hours a day on various social media apps. If that is you, that is a red flag – get off your phone and go to sleep.
The bottom line is you can’t say yes to everything. Decide what you need to say no to, so that you can say yes to sleep.
Additionally, you can set an alarm that reminds you to start your night time routine and get to bed on time. If you really need the help, then get an accountability partner and set some consequences if you don’t follow through.
Additional Sleep Tips & Relaxation Techniques
Often as an athlete you have a late night game or training session – this can be difficult to fall asleep afterwards. Relaxation techniques can be used to help you fall asleep at night but also to help you relax during the day.
Relaxing your body helps regulate stress, improves arousal control (emotional regulation), increases self-awareness, optimizes recovery, calms the mind, improves focus, and enhances performance.
The top relaxation techniques we use with athletes include: diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic therapy, and non-sleep deep rest. Click here for my favorite relaxation technique to use when you are hyped up after a game and need to get some sleep.
In addition to relaxation techniques you want to develop a routine that works for you here. Here are some additional tips to incorporate to optimize both your quality and quantity of sleep:
- Leave phone, iPad, & TV out of bedroom or away from bed
- Find a consistent nap time that works for you
- Limit caffeine; have none after 2 pm
- Decrease screen time before bed
- Keep bedroom cold & dark
- Get more morning sunlight
- Have white noise in the room
I hope you found this helpful.
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