The way Olympians perform while every eye is focused on them makes one think most of them probably never sleep and just train round the clock, to perfect their style. But the truth is, sleep and power naps play an integral role in their routines and could possibly be one of the secrets behind their success.
As complied from The Huffington Post, here are five top secrets revealed by five leading Olympians that you too can incorporate into your lifestyle. Try them out and be on your way to wellbeing, positive energy and better health.
1. Never underestimate the power of a power nap
Many of us experience lethargy and sluggishness even after a whole night’s sleep. According to beach volleyball gold medalist Phil Dalhausser, when sleep just isn’t enough, you need to add naps to your routine. He said that competition can make it rather difficult to get an eye-shut in peace. “On a bad night’s sleep, my brain feels foggy. So I just take a nap if I didn’t sleep well the night before,” shared the Olympian. According to researches, midday naps can actually lift your mood and boost memory.
2. Stick to a routine
Sam Ojserkis of the USA rowing team swears by the wonders of a strict sleeping routine and repetition. He wakes up at 5am, eats, trains, eats again and trains again before hitting the sack at 8pm sharp to call it a day. “I can become very monotonous,” he admits. But clearly, monotony works for this athlete. Maintaining a strict sleep routine regulates the body’s natural clock and rhythm.
3. Practice some winding down habits
Hitting the bed doesn’t always mean you need to go to sleep – there are a number of things you can dose before you dose off that will help relax your mind. American gymnast Gabby Douglas, who just recently bagged gold for her country, takes time out to meditate every night before sleeping. “I curl up in my bed to meditate, which helps me learn to clear my mind and puts me in a good place spiritually. With my mind clear, it becomes easy for me to sleep,” she shares, adding that she always wakes up eight hours later feeling rejuvenated.
4. Steer clear of stress
It is completely natural for nervousness or excitement to interfere with sleeping patterns and most athletes experience this on daily basis. But USA pole vault record holder Sandi Morris tries to push all thoughts of the competition out of her mind before she closes her eyes to sleep. “It becomes difficult for me to sleep because I’m filled with emotion. But I always try to push it away and imagine the ocean. I think of the deep ‘whooshing’ sounds of waves hitting the shores and eventually fall asleep,” she reveals.
5. Early to bed — the classic mantra
As clichéd as it may sound, ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ is actually true. According to US rugby team captain Madison Hughes, it is essential to go to bed early to make sure you get enough sleep before it’s time to start the day. “I had always been someone who stays up late and then wakes up late, but over a course of a few days you start finding yourself drowsy, tired and ineffective. It is all about being disciplined now,” shares the 23-year-old.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2016.