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5 Sleep Tips From Olympians

Updated: Feb 27

We all know that sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing, and athletes are especially aware of the importance of a good night’s rest.

Woman sleeping in a comfy bed

We all need consistent, quality sleep in order to perform our best. And when it comes to performance (and recovery), no one understands the importance of catching ample zzz's more than Olympic athletes. These five essential sleep tips from Olympians past and present can help anyone get gold-medal-worthy rest every night.

Treat sleep as part of your health routine

Olympic trainer Jeffrey Durmer, M.D., Ph.D. takes a strategic view and recommends treating sleep like part of a training routine. As a critical part of your health, wellness, energy levels, and even immunity, sleep should definitely not be an afterthought in your health routine. By focusing on improved sleep you will reap the benefits in every aspect of your life.

Establish a bedtime routine

According to gymnast Gabby Douglas, and three-time gold medalist, establishing a sleep and wind-down routine that works well for you and sticking to it is key to getting consistently good sleep. Whether that's winding down with some meditation, reading a good book, or taking a short walk before bed, Gabby recommends finding (and sticking to) a nighttime routine that truly works for you and your lifestyle.

Be consistent

Getting enough sleep is important, but so is finding consistency in your sleep and wake times. For American rower Sam Ojserkis, this means going to sleep at eight and waking up at five but, naturally, this will be different for others and depend on their natural circadian rhythms, lifestyles, and work demands.

Block out disturbances

12-time Olympic medalist in swimming, Natalie Coughlin highlights the critical importance of a distraction-free night’s sleep. This means setting up a dark, quiet, cool sleep space.

Think about tracking your sleep

It’s no surprise that Olympians like Michael Phelps track their sleep with wearable devices, but even if you’re not a professional athlete, a sleep tracker can help you identify how well you’re sleeping and test out different adjustments for improved rest.

So, think consistency, winding down, removing disturbances, and simply prioritizing sleep every single night.

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