The Olympics are under way and athletes from around the world have come together to perform in events they’ve spent years training for.
But the secret weapon to between winning a gold or a silver might actually come down to the time athletes spend between the sheets.
Dr. Mark Rosekind, a sleep specialist who has helped train athletes like Short Track Speed Skater, Apolo Ohno and the U.S. men’s volleyball team, has been studying sleep for years but it’s been in the past decade that the interest in sleep for top-level athletes has increased.
Dr. Rosekind says, “It really starts with people acknowledging that sleep is like food, water and air.”
So what does that mean for the average person who is sitting on the couch watching the Olympics instead of participating in it?
We say, don’t underestimate how much you do. Parents of young kids partake in their own Olympic games each and every day. From carrying babies for hours on end to lifting and strapping young toddlers into car seats where they magically turn into ironing boards who refuse to bend, to jumping over the sharp object obstacle course on the living floor and bedtime marathons, you are an athlete in a competition that never ends.
According to the National Sleep Foundation sleep plays a major role in athletic performance and a poor sleep can cause a decline in split-second decision making. Which is why you may have decided against that second cup of coffee and are now regretting it.
But what’s a sleep-deprived parent to do when you’re being woken up in the middle of the night by a crying baby or a wee one who has had a bad dream? Don’t despair! It turns out you can bank your sleep so you can still perform at the top of your game even if you’ve missed a couple of solid nights shut-eye.
The moral of the story is, you might not be going for the gold but you still need to sleep like an athlete to help you get through your busy days.
Now go get a good night’s sleep. You deserve it.