Getting enough sleep each night is felt to be critical for optimal athletic performance. People who participate in sports and activities that involve reaction times, like driving or batting in baseball, often suffer poor performance when they are sleep deprived. Alertness and vigilance often suffer. Did you know that you could improve your sleep and improve your athletic performance?
Recovering from aggressive physical activity is harder when your body doesn’t get enough sleep, and this problem could become magnified with chronic sleep deprivation.
On top of lack of sleep from work or school, stress from the athletic competition could affect sleep the night before a game or tournament.
What can you do to improve your sleep on a given night? Are there strategies that can help you improve the quality of your sleep?
Most sleep experts recommend setting a regular sleep schedule so that you go to bed at the same time every night. Also set an alarm so that you wake up at the same time every morning.
Avoid caffeine and other stimulants at night or in the late afternoon. While exercise during the day is a good idea, some experts believe that night workouts might interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
It is also probably a bad idea to read or watch television in bed. Your brain needs to associate your bed with sleeping, so doing other things in bed might hurt your ability to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep quickly, then you can go into another room and read.
Finally, short naps can be helpful to allow your body to rest. Be careful that you don’t nap so long that you struggle to fall asleep, especially if you are prone to insomnia.