You’ve seen it before — a restless night’s sleep can leave you with lagging energy to face your day. But did you know that great sleep (or the lack thereof) can impact your performance on the court, the greens, or in the gym as well? In honor of Sleep Awareness Week, we had Mary Pat Wallace, CEO of The Luxury Bed Collection share her expert insights on sleep and its effect on your wellbeing and athletic performance.
Research shows that athletes who get six hours of sleep or less per night are 70% more likely to face an injury, while a solid, restful eight hours or more has the potential to reduce your golf handicap by as much as 30%. Yet, in spite of the well-documented health, wellness and performance benefits of sleep, current research shows that sleeplessness is at near epidemic proportions.
5 Tips to Sleep Better
So, how do you set yourself up to get restful, quiet, optimized sleep? Here are five key things you need:
- A regular exercise regimen: Sleep and athletic performance are linked — good sleep can boost performance, and regular exercise that takes place at least 3 hours before your bedtime can enhance your sleep.
- A restful bedtime routine: Build in time for a nightly routine. If needed, set an alarm to remind you to start winding down. Creating a “runway” to great sleep means putting aside electronic devices and shutting down screens. Try a warm bath, which increases sleepiness, and climb under the covers — don’t fall asleep on the sofa watching TV.
- A sleep-enhancing diet: Foods that are high in sleep-supporting nutrients include bananas, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, kiwi, chamomile tea, and milk. Timing is also important when it comes to food and drink. Your last meal of the day should be no later than 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- A restful sleep environment: Use room-darkening shades to keep light out of your bedroom, use rugs or carpet to absorb sound, and avoid clocks that are within your line of sight (try a “sunrise” alarm instead!) Keep the bedroom cool — 65-70 degrees supports restful sleep.
- A mattress, pillow, and linens that fit you: There is a right fit for every sleeper, achieved by the perfect combination of mattress, pillow, and layered bed linens. To find your fit, plan to visit a mattress store and lie down on the mattress you’re considering, with the pillow you plan to use, for at least ten minutes. If you’re a side sleeper, have a friend check your spinal alignment while lying on the bed: your spine should be straight and roughly parallel to the mattress, indicating a good fit. When it comes to linens, breathability is key — look for natural materials and fabrics that allow for good airflow, which allows them to help regulate your body temperature during the night.
There are plenty of “remedies” out there for poor sleep — but sticking to the fundamentals outlined above will put you on a healthy path to great sleep that works with your body, enhances your life and well-being, and helps you get the most out of your workout, too.
Written by Mary Pat Wallace, CEO of The Luxury Bed Collection