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10 Sleep Hacks Every Athlete Needs To Know [Infographic]

10 Sleep Hacks Every Athlete Needs To Know [Infographic]

For those who take their fitness seriously, there are parts of our daily routine which are prioritised over everything else; these are, of course, exercise and diet.

The two really go hand-in-hand. Exercise helps us lose weight and improves our fitness. Creating the perfect diet both fuels the body to achieve certain exercise goals and also acts as a supplement to improve physical growth and recovery.

The tricky thing is finding a delicate balance between the two, ensuring you get plenty of exercise without neglecting a healthy and balanced diet. Take a look at this informative post from Real Simple which discusses the two in more detail.

Athletes & Diets

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However, all bodies are different and some can cope with less healthy diets than others. There are many examples of successful sports stars who regularly eat mounds of junk food between serious competitions and are still able to get into a healthy routine when it comes to the crunch.

There are plenty of great examples of this, one of the most famous being the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt. 

The record-breaking sprinter admitted to eating 100 McDonald’s chicken nuggets every day during the Beijing Olympics where he won three gold medals. You can read more on his junk food habits in this article from Joe.

While exercise and diet are extremely important to anyone hoping to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, there are other things which are just as important, but a lot less frequently discussed.

One example is sleep. Sleep is massively important in ensuring we are fully rested and energised for the following day. However, by concentrating fully on exercise and diet alone, the amount of sleep we get can often take a back seat.

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Athletes & Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation are one of many who suggest that the recommended amount of sleep each adult should have per night is eight hours. Any less and our bodies may not be sufficiently rested and may not function at the peak levels we want every day.

While it’s a lot less reported than fitness routines or diets, many of the top sports stars take their amount of sleep very seriously.

Take a look at this article from the Huffington Post which explains how the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, LeBron James and Michelle Wie have at least nine hours sleep every night, otherwise, they feel they cannot function properly the following day.

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One of the most interesting sports star sleep stories involves the most decorated Olympian of all time.

It’s reported that Michael Phelps goes the extra mile at bedtime, sleeping in a chamber which simulates being at an altitude of 8,500 to 9,000 feet. It decreases oxygen, forcing the body to work harder under the circumstances. As a result, blood flow and endurance improve.

Of course, this is a slightly drastic example and something which the average person wouldn’t dream of doing, but it emphasises how important sleep is to the routines of athletes.

10 Sleep Hacks Every Athlete Needs To Know

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For the amateur athlete, getting a proper sleep routine is slightly trickier than it is for a pro athlete who doesn’t have any other commitments. Working a 9-5 job, fitting in plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is tricky enough, before squeezing in eight hours sleep.

Thankfully, SleepyPeople.com has created a really handy infographic which can help anyone who is struggling to balance their healthy lifestyle.

‘10 Sleep Hacks Every Athlete Needs To Know’ offers up some great advice to structuring a healthy routine so that you can fit everyone in, including a great night’s sleep. Take a look below.

athletes-sleep-hacks-1

    Featured photo credit: Sleepy People via sleepypeople.com

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2019

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

    What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

    1. Take the scenic route.

    Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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    Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

    2. Distract yourself.

    No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

    3. Listen to music or podcasts.

    There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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    4. Bring a friend.

    Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

    Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

    5. Accessorize.

    There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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    For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

    6. Compete.

    A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

    7. Relax.

    The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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    With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

    Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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