Sleep like an Olympic Champion

With the 2022 Winter Olympics starting this week, we’d like to turn the spotlight on sleep for high-performance athletes

olympic athletes sleep

Most athletes have dialed in a number of healthy habits - being active, staying hydrated, healthy eating, etc etc, but studies show that sleep is still a critical performance piece that many elite athletes continue to struggle with or prioritize as much as training and exercise. 

For high-performance athletes, getting sufficient and good quality sleep are imperative for good regulation of all systems in the body. When we’re sleep-deprived, our mental and physical well-being suffers and can have serious effects on maintaining our motivation. 

Here are 4 Sleep Tips from the pros that made a difference for their performance:

  • Making sleep a priority.
  • “In addition to staying off my feet at the end of a long day of workouts, quality sleep is the next vital piece to my triathlon training. I try to get eight to 10 hours of rest each night; following those few nights when I don't hit that mark, I'm not able to perform at my best the next day.” 

    - Gwen Jorgensen, two-time International Triathlon Union World Champion, 2012 Olympian, and 2016 triathlon gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

  • No electronics in the bedroom.
  • “If I’m on my phone looking at a screen just before bed, I have trouble falling asleep so I try to avoid that. Also traveling with an eye mask can help and taking some melatonin before big days to help me find a peaceful sleep. Otherwise I find myself thinking too much about the next day and tossing and turning. These are all things that can become a part of your routine as an athlete that can help you maximize your performance.”

    - Travis Ganong, Olympic & World Cup Alpine ski racer.

  • Daytime napping.

  • “I pretty much took a nap every day from the time I started intensive training to the time I retired, which was about a decade. While traveling, it was important to get even more sleep. I was a pro at it. People would find me catching a power nap in all sorts of places on a bus or plane and even in the splits. I learned early on that sleeping was just as important to my training as conditioning, stretching, and skills. I had to give my body and my mind time to recover.” 

    - Shannon Miller, Former gymnast and member of the 1996 gold-medal-winning Magnificent Seven American Olympic team, won seven Olympic medals over the course of her career.

  • Temperature Control.

  • “Temperature is absolutely key, and certainly a key consideration for me. When I work out or train later in the evenings, then that naturally has an impact on body temperature, and it can take some time for that to return to normal levels. If I do have to train close to bedtime, then I will have a cold shower and ensure my room is cool in order to get my internal temperature to where it needs to be.” 

    - Victoria Thornley, Welsh rower, Silver Medalist in the women's double sculls at the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

    Changing your mindset and behaviour around sleep can make a huge difference on performance. Adding a supplement to your sleep routine can help give your body extra nutrients for recovery and support a state of relaxation for your sleeping that will turbocharge your results. 

    PM Recovery Collagen before bed is kind of like taking a pre-workout before a workout—it doesn’t do the work for you, but it will amplify your efforts. 

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