Improve the Quality and Quantity of Your Sleep to Feel and Perform Better

11 Mar

child-sleeping-with-stuffed-animal[1]At Athletic Performance Training Center, we believe there are 3 foundational “pillars” that support sports performance:

  • Sport-specific skill development
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Nutrition

And, since a well-rested athlete will generally outperform one who is not, you can add sleep to the list, as well.

Sleep is a vital component of good physical and mental health.  Research shows that 7-8 hours of quality sleep, per night, improves cognitive function and physical performance.  Fortunately, most of us have the ability to improve the quality of our sleep by making a few modifications to our diet and activity level.  Here are some tips:


Daytime exercise can help you sleep more deeply and restfully at night. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that getting regular physical activity can actually help you fall asleep more quickly and improve the quality of your sleep. If possible, exercise in the morning or during the day, since exercising at night can increase your energy levels and alertness, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Adhere to a Sleep Schedule

Consistency is the key.  According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who get up in the morning and go to bed at night around the same time every day find it easier to fall asleep at night.  Try to stick to a regular sleeping schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends.  When your sleep schedule changes, you throw off your body’s internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night, and/or harder to stay awake during the day.  Consider an alarm that reminds you to go to bed at night, just like an alarm to wake you in the morning.

Avoid Caffeine

Stimulants, such as drinks that contain caffeine — coffee, tea, and sodas — can keep you up at night.  Some experts believe you should not drink any beverage containing caffeine after noon.  Nicotine and alcohol should also be avoided when it gets closer to bedtime.  Avoiding stimulants, especially later in the day, will help you stay asleep longer without waking up at night so that you have a better quality of sleep.

Set Up Your Bedroom

You want your bedroom to be as relaxing as possible so that it’s easy for you to fall asleep without any distractions.  The bedroom should generally be cool, quiet, and dark.  Eye pillows, extra blankets, and ear plugs may help you sleep more deeply.  Although reading and watching television in bed are distracting for some people, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke actually recommends reading a book or watching the television in bed if your mind is racing when trying to fall asleep. Different things work for different people so it’s a good idea to try a little of everything to see what works best for you.


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