Sleep helps ensure optimal athletic performance. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep has been shown to enhance reflexes and reaction time, increase intensity and strength, improve concentration, and allow for better recovery. For those who play sport at a professional level getting the right amount of sleep can be hard. For example, after a NWHL practice many players struggle to sleep at a reasonable hour, which can affect their performance levels for the following days. This is why some of the world’s best athletes have developed sleeping habits that will allow them to always perform at their best. Here are 5 such athletes.
Brady is a stickler in terms of his diet and fitness regimen. He is also a sound sleeper, telling ABC News that he is in bed by 8:30 PM. He told the site that he wakes up at 5:30 AM, which means he gets 9 hours of sleep. To get that amount he admits to making “concessions” like keeping tabs on the latest HBO and Netflix series and reducing time spent with his dear ones. He also makes sure that he gets the best sleep possible. To do that Brady shuts down all devices and gadgets 30 minutes prior to his sleeping time. He also makes sure that the bedroom is kept clean, quiet, and cool (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit). Additionally he wears Under Armour-approved athlete recovery sleepwear, which he says promotes better sleep.
Raisman is the youngest on this list, but she is well aware of the importance of sleep. Not only does she get the recommended 8–10 hours of sleep every night; Raisman has also committed to a bedtime routine that she swears by. The young Olympian’s wind-down routine before shutting off is to read close to bedtime, put on a face mask to relax, and put away her phone. Then she visualizes success, noting how “…what you think about when you go to sleep is a reflection of the next day.” It’s a routine that seems to be working, as Raisman has turned herself into one of Team USA best gymnasts.
Federer is known to get 12 hours of sleep regularly. “Sleep is really important” Federer told Uniqlo. “When you get enough sleep, you wake up with all this energy, and that’s a beautiful feeling.” He credits good sleep for keeping him almost injury free for most of his legendary career. Federer is the highest paid tennis player in the sport’s history, and that is due to a long career that allowed him to accumulate a record breaking 20 Grand Slams. Playing at the highest level for over 16 years has been due to Federer’s ability to look after his body, which includes an extended amount of sleep every night.
Morgan, one of the stars of the US women’s national soccer team, gets lots of sleep as well. And for her the wind-down just before bedtime is the most important part of her sleeping routine. That’s because she’s always on-to-go due to her intense training, and by nighttime her body is still in overdrive. So, to prepare for a good night’s sleep Morgan either reads or finishes a crossword puzzle to calm herself down and give her brain a much-needed rest. To make her sleep even better, Morgan even partnered with Molecule, which manufactures high-tech sleeping systems for athletes.
In year 17, The King is still playing at an ultra-high level and part of this is due to regularly getting 8–10 hours of good sleep. “When you get in that good sleep, you just wake up, and you feel fresh,” said James. “You don’t need an alarm clock. You just feel like, ‘Okay. I can tackle this day at the highest level.’” And just like Brady, LeBron keeps it consistent when it comes to bedtime. To this end, comfort is crucial explains Mike Mancias, The King’s long-time trainer. This means setting the temperature at 68–70 degrees Fahrenheit and keeping the room completely dark. LeBron ensures this by turning every light source, smartphones included, off some half an hour before he goes to sleep.