6 Tips for a Better Nights Sleep

sleeping-tips
Photo Credit: WarmSleepy via Compfight cc

Coaches and players need high levels of energy if you’re going to compete at your best and improve every day. The amount of energy you have during the day is highly affected by the amount of quality sleep you get each night.

For athletes, it’s even more important because they expel a lot of energy practicing and working out each day.

For players that don’t get enough sleep, studies have shown that along with a decrease in energy levels, they will also have a much harder time concentrating, have more mood swings, and a lack of sleep can also make losing weight a whole lot tougher. I talk about the ways lack of sleep kills basketball performance here.

These are all things that we want to avoid to operate a great basketball team.

Here are 6 tips to get a better nights sleep.

 

1. Go to bed at the same time each night

This can be hard for players because they may have homework or other requirements that need to be completed late into the night. However, one of the reasons that players are forced to stay awake and do homework is because they’ve put it off until the last minute. Stress the importance of going to bed at the same time each night and that they need to use their time more efficiently during the day to accommodate this.

This is important because they will start to teach their body what time they need to go to sleep and wake up each day. Then they’ll feel much more energized upon waking up and have a lot more energy during the day.

 

2. Create a bedtime routine

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that your mind and body will begin to associate with going to sleep. The most important thing is to have the same routine every single night.

My bedtime routine looks like this;

  1. I clean the dishes if there are any still left out from todays use.
  2. Let the dog outside to do her ‘business’.
  3. Brush my teeth.
  4. Lock up the house.
  5. Read in bed until I feel I can go to sleep (usually about 20 minutes).
  6. Turn off my light and go to sleep.

That’s it. Nothing special. But a routine works because when I start the routine my mind begins preparing my body sleep.

 

 3. No electronics 

Once you decide on what time you’re going to start your routine, from that time until the next morning you should force yourself to be electronic-free.

This includes TV’s, laptops, phones, e-readers, anything with a backlight. All of these devices will stimulate your brain which will keep you awake for much longer.

Your body is designed to be awake and alert at the sight of light. So it’s crucial that when you wake up in the middle of the night you don’t check your phone or flick on the TV.

 

4. No Caffeine or Alcohol after Dinner

Alcohol does in fact help you get to sleep. But the problem is that once you are asleep, the alcohol in your system greatly affects the quality of the sleep you get.

Caffeine is similar to alcohol, but it definitely does not help you get to sleep. It’s similar because it will also disrupt the quality of your sleep if you have it close to going to sleep. And by ‘close to going to sleep’ I don’t mean 10 minutes before… I mean any time after dinner. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 6 hours.

 

5. Get Rid of Brain Clutter

Have a million things running through your head when you’re trying to get to sleep?

This happens to me all the time. I used to stay awake for hours thinking of all the things I must remember to do the next day. And then a close friend solved all my problems…

He explained to me that he used to experience the same thing (I assume pretty much all of us do), his answer to the problem was to keep a pen and notebook on his bed-side table and whenever something popped into his head that needed to be remembered, he would write it down.

I can’t stress enough how much this one technique improved my quality of sleep. My brain feels free as soon as I write it down.

 

6. Create the right sleeping environment

My advice is to make your room completely dark. Even the little numbers on a bed-side clock can create a glow in the room that makes it more difficult to sleep.

Are you sleeping on a comfortable pillow?

Do you have a comfortable mattress?

Are your sheets old and uncomfortable?

I understand that good sleeping equipment can cost a lot of money, but remember that on average you will spend one third of your life in bed. For example if you live until the age of 90, you will spend 30 years in bed sleeping!

Great sleeping equipment is a great investment to make and you’ll definitely get your moneys worth out of it.

 

Conclusion 

The main thing to remember is these changes won’t be easy to make. For the first week or two you’re going to find it difficult to fall asleep at an earlier time than usual. Don’t try to make large jumps by going from a bedtime of 2am to 10pm in one night.

Changing a habit is a gradual process. At least, if you want it to be a permanent change.

Instead, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a week, and then another 15 minutes earlier than that for the second week, and so on until you get to your desired bedtime.

You and your players are going to find the change hard at first, that’s expected. But you need to push through that pain for the long-term benefits that this routine will bring.