The Sleep Habits of Professional Athletes
You might have overheard that it’s the start of a particularly large sporting event today. Athletes dedicate their life to reaching their maximum potential, so it should come as no surprise that sleep is treated as an integral part of their training. With the start of the Olympic games of 2016 upon us, we’ve decided to take a look at the sleeping habits of some of the very best professional athletes.
In preparation for the 2012 Olympics, Michael Phelps slept in a high altitude chamber. The low oxygen environment replicates an 8,500 to a 9,000-foot mountaintop. Those high altitudes are proven to benefit athletic performance, with studies linking it to an increase in red blood cells and maximum energy output. Having won 4 gold and 2 silver medals at the previous Olympics, Michael Phelps preparation clearly worked for him.
Phelps has previously said that sleep is a big part of his recovery, with the statistics backing him up: sleep extension provides swimmers with a 17% improvement in reaction time off the starting block.
Roger Ferderer has been at the top of the tennis game for many years. An unbelievable sporting talent, the man dedicates every aspect of his life to tennis, and as a result, he is widely regarded as one of the greats of the modern game. Thankfully, his sleeping habits are something we can all realistically replicate, unlike his unbelievable skill on the court. Federer says he likes to “think big” when it comes to sleeping, aiming for nine to 10 hours a night. According to Federer, it’s really the sleep that gives you energy again down the road. Who are we to disagree with one of the greatest sportsmen of the modern era?
Usain Bolt is the poster boy of men’s athletics in the modern era. What’s the secret of the world’s fastest man? Sleep, of course! It is reported that Bolt aims for 8 to ten hours of sleep every night, “sleep is extremely important to me — I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body”, he said.
If there’s something that we can learn from these athletes at the top of their game, it’s that a good night of sleep is imperative to reaching your ultimate potential.