How to Optimize Athletic Performance During Travel
Sleep is just as important as exercise and diet for every person, and even more so for a professional athlete.
Athletes, in fact, require more: an average of 9 hours of slumber ensures the right amount of recovery needed for the demands they put on their bodies during training.
Traveling to competitions during sports season can take an even bigger toll on athletes, affecting their performance on the big day.
Sleep is often disrupted on the road or abroad, yet sleep is a crucial aspect of recovery and optimal performance for athletes - consequently, athletes are wise to take great care and consideration in getting the sleep they need.
Jillian Williams (@jk_williams_07) is a professional athlete and 2020 Tokyo Paralympics Gold Medalist, competing in sitting volleyball. Jillian uses MajesticBeds products to ensure she gets the best sleep - at home and during travel.
"For the first time since my amputation, I am now able to lay in bed with zero back pain and wake up fully rested! This is HUGE because your girl is cranky with little to no sleep!"
What does she do to maximize the restorative sleep she can get during travel?
Jillian shares: "I brought my Majestic Beds mattress pad to Tokyo with me - the hotel beds available were not comfortable, but the topper made my trip to Tokyo a million times better!"
We put our heads together to share a few more important tips with you on how athletes - or anyone - can stay on top of their game, even when traveling coast to coast.
Prioritize adjusting to the time zone
Jet lag is the number one performance-killer when someone's in "away" mode - for both athletes and regular people going about their day. Adjusting to a different time zone requires some preparation, and it starts well before arriving at the destination. Travelers can adjust their sleep schedule hours several days before the trip by sleeping ahead or before their usual bedtime. That way, the body won't be as shocked upon arrival to the destination's new timetable.
Also Read: How to Sleep Better When You Travel
Reduce light exposure
Light and screen exposure before sleep can mess up your circadian rhythm - it sends signals to the brain and body that it still needs to be awake longer. It is best to stop looking at screens an hour before bed to prepare the mind and body for sleep.
Also Read: Sleep Tips for Shift Workers
Create a suitable sleep environment
Your bedroom or hotel room should be like a sleep cave: cool, dark and quiet. There's obviously a lot less control over your surroundings on some trips, but bringing earplugs and eye masks will help a lot, especially if there's a roommate on board.
Your sleep surface is just as important as your sleep surroundings. To make sure you get the right amount of comfort and support every night, many athletes including Jillian Williams and baseball player Zach McKinstry swear by bringing a mattress pad to improve sleep quality on the road.
Zach shares: "I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night and my body has never felt so good at the end of the season. Thank you, Majestic Beds, for a great season!"
We can also help you get the proper amount of restorative sleep to help you perform at your peak on the field or wherever life takes you. Check out our blog to know more about sleep:
- Why We Procrastinate Bedtime - and What to Do About It
- 5 Random Things You Didn't Know About Sleep
- How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health