Sleep is the best supplement athletes can take.
Here’s 12 ways to have you best nights sleep ever
1: Avoid Exercise
…<2hours before bed.
Training stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system).
Adrenaline will be flowing through your veins that can hinder sleep quality in some athletes
2: Time your Pre-Workout
The half life of caffeine is 6hours…
If you consume a monster at 6pm, you’ll still have 80mg of caffeine in your system at 12pm
3: Set a Schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
We’re creatures of habit (and circadian rhythms), don’t let it netflix ruin that…
4: Dark Bedroom
Articifical light significantly reduces our ability to fall asleep, tricking our body into thinking it’s daytime
Use black-out curtains, keep our phones out our room and use side lamps before bed
5: Cool Bedroom
Better to have a cold room than a warm one, that’s why we tend to feel cosy on cold evenings
Our bodies internal temperature needs to drop in order to fall asleep
6: No Naps after 3pm
Power-naps (~20mins) are a great tool.
But do your best to avoid napping after 3pm
It will make it significantly harder to fall asleep in the evening
7: Avoid your Phone
Avoid your phone 1-2hrs before bed.
Blue light can stimulate the part of the brain that makes us feel awake, as can news or social media.
8: Don’t Drink Alcohol
Having a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea and disrupted sleep patterns.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which is important for regulating your body’s circadian rhythm
Avoid stressful activities prior to bed, and consider meditation practice.
As more of us work from home, we tend to find ourselves working late into the evening. Mind working on overdrive until late into the evening will, obviously, negatively affect your sleep.
10: Take a Bath or Shower
Studies indicate showers and baths can help us fall asleep faster.
In one study, taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep (Kanda et al., 1999)
11: Weighted Blankets
Personally this tip has transformed the quality of my sleep, and new research is promising.
Weighted blankets have been found to be an effective treatment of insomnia, according to researchers who found improved sleep and less daytime sleepiness when sleeping with a weighted blanket (Ekholm et al., 2020).
Abbasi et al (2012) found supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, and early morning awakening.
ZMA can be a useful supplement prior to bed for athletes.