By Allison Brager, PhD
At the end of the day, winning matters. Winning is not just luck, though. Winning requires a lifetime of preparation. Training on rainy days, training after bad days, eating the right foods to fuel the body, and getting enough sleep.
Ask Lebron James and Roger Federer how much each sleeps. Both will tell you twelve hours, at a minimum.
For the last fifteen years, I have served as a sleep consultant to major professional teams, collegiate teams, and Olympic teams. Many of the teams I have worked with have gone on to win their respective national championships – including the LSU Tigers (2020 College Football) and the Washington Capitals (2018 Stanley Cup). The strategies I implemented into these organizations mirror the O2X formula. Below are a few initiatives of noteworthiness:
- Create a sleep-friendly environment
In 2008, I worked with the US Olympic teams to create a sleep-friendly environment in the otherwise noisy Olympic village. What did we do? We made sure their rooms were as dark as possible (eye masks suggested), cool as possible, and quiet as possible (ear plugs suggested). Since then, it’s very common for pro teams and high performers to create sleep-friendly kits equipped with eye masks and ear plugs, and even lavender spray to aid with sleep while traveling. I actually got one of these sleep kits from the American Express Centurion Lounge the last time I was traveling back as an O2X specialist.
- Get a sleep study done.
Although intimidating, we find from our research that > 60% of elite athletes have some sleep disturbance and some form of diagnosable sleep apnea and/or insomnia. Athletes as young as 18 years old! We are not invincible, and the path to healthy sleep begins with making sure sleep is optimal. Sleep trackers can help, but leaving it to the professionals is best!
- Rising and Grinding begins with a good night of quality sleep.
A huge part of our research and the O2X mission focuses on quality sleep and next-day performance. In order to perform, you must sleep. Sleep has several universal functions including optimizing the endocrine system, immune system, the emotional system, and even clearing wastes from the brain in order to function. Without sleep, our systems are hijacked. No one wants that.
To conclude, to be elite, you must sleep like an elite. The formula is simple. It begins with discipline and planning, like everything else. So sleep on it!