Sleep is an essential contributor to peak performance. A good night’s rest can help with focus, awareness, self-talk, imagery, motivation, confidence, goal-setting, relaxation, psyching up, team cohesion, and overall well-being. The more efficient you sleep the clearer your senses and thinking. A good night’s rest also results in more positive mood and optimistic outlook. Unfortunately, the opposite effects are also present if sleeping is inefficient and poor – negative mood, unclear thoughts, lethargy/fatigue, and doubt.
Sleep is a habit. We can build good habits and slip into bad habits. The following are the best and most effective good habits to a good night’s rest.
1. Develop a sleep ritual in which you follow the same pattern of winding down for the hour before you go to bed (start with brushing and flossing your teeth)
a. That means if you plan to get to bed at 10pm, brush and floss at 9pm
2. Only go to sleep when you are sleepy
a. Try to keep a schedule but do not “force” yourself to sleep
3. Do nothing in bed except sleep
a. Avoid TV, reading, playing on your phone, listening to music, etc.
4.If you cannot sleep within 15min, get out of bed and do something else
a. Stretch, meditate, pet an animal, etc.
b. Try not to turn on lights/electronics
c. Only get back in bed when you feel you can fall asleep
5. Awaken within the same hour every day
a. Do not sleep more than an hour past your wake time on weekdays on weekends
6. Avoid caffeine within 6hrs of bed (soda, tea, coffee, chocolate)
Some additional tips for improving sleep: practice relaxation techniques to help with sleep onset; write down worrisome thoughts before bed to get them out of your head; work with a psychologist who is knowledgeable about sleep; if necessary, use sleep restriction to shock your system back into regular sleep.