Bedroom Secrets from Elite Athletes

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Ever wonder what secrets the world’s elite athletes use to get to sleep? Athletes are on our mind this month with the Tour de France ending on 22 July and the London Olympics starting on the 27 July.

Sleep seems to be the one thing that all people have in common with elite athletes. It turns out that the advice sleep researchers give athletes also works for the rest of us. Before we learn the sleep secrets, we need to understand what happens if we don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep Duration and Deprivation

Athletes and non-athletes who don’t get enough sleep experience problems like being easily upset and lacking focus. Additionally, many people who don’t get enough restful-sleep will also experience slowed reactions, low self-confidence, and problems concentrating.

According to several sleep experts, elite athletes need a minimum of 8 hours sleep. A few studies have even shown that getting only 6 hours sleep significantly reduces an athlete’s reflexes and decision-making abilities. Sleep-loss for longer durations of time, like working 'an all-nighter,' causes a person’s body temperature to drop, lowers their immunity and reduces their hormone levels.

Many fitness studies show that the human body takes about 48 hours to recover from intense exercise. Recovery includes getting at least 2 nights of 8 hours of sleep. Recovery can be further slowed by multiple days of competition or by over-exercising. One of the symptoms of over-exercising and incomplete recovery is the inability to get restful sleep.

Sleep Environment

What is an athlete’s secret to getting enough restful sleep to ensure their peak performance? Athletes and trainers focus on the sleep environment and a sleep routine. This week, we look at how athletes set up their sleep environment.

1.) Bed size and quality

Athletes sleep in a good-quality bed that is the right size and fit for their body. Mattresses come in a variety of sizes and with a number of features. You can ask our Bedshed staff to help you find a few mattresses that support your body and fit your unique sleep position, personal preferences and height. Come into a store and lay down on each mattress for a few minutes to find the mattress that best fits you. To ensure you are getting the best support and comfort, we recommend you replace your mattress every 5 years.

2.) Cool bedrooms are better

Bedrooms should be cool at night. If you feel too cold in bed, add blankets, change to a warmer blanket or add a mattress topper instead of turning on the heater. Hot sleepers might want to use a gel pillow, gel mattress or gel mattress pad to transfer heat away from your body. In any environment, use high-quality linens made of natural fibers to help wick moisture away and improve airflow near your skin.

3.) Sleep in a dark room

You will sleep better in a dark room. If you cannot create a dark room, consider wearing comfortable eyeshades at night.

4.) Quiet rooms ensure restful sleep

Noise from vehicles or neighborhood activity can wake you or keep you from deep sleep. Earplugs can help block out noise, or you can mask some types of noises with ambient-sound recordings or ‘white-noise’ machines.

5.) Beds are for sleeping

When setting up your bedroom, create separate areas for work, relaxing and sleep. Only use your bed for sleeping and try to avoid working on laptops, eating or doing paperwork in bed. Bedshed recommends the Benton, Lasalle and Rimini suites. These suites include a desk and have a variety of dressers, bookcases and tall boys that complement Bedshed’s many bedroom furniture designs.

6.) Let your alarm clock wake you

Buy an easy-to-use alarm clock. Pick an alarm clock with tones or music that you enjoy waking up to. Avoid using the snooze function and instead turn the lights on and spend 10-15 minutes in bed to wake up gently.

Next week we will look at athlete’s sleep routines and there’s a lot to be said for good timing