Sure, athletes seem to do the impossible, but they are humans, humans with an extra dose of extreme determination. With their eyes on the prize and hyper focused on taking care of their physical and mental self. Still not convinced how important sleep is for you and the potential athlete within? Get inspired by these nocturnal habits:
American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian ever. Phelps is infamous for consuming more than 10,000 calories a day, but one thing you may not know about his training routine is that he experiments with high-altitude sleeping.
As Phelps prepared for the 2012 Olympics, he spent a year sleeping in a specially designed high-altitude chamber that creates a low-oxygen environment (similar to being at the top of a 9,000-foot mountaintop). For swimmers, this sleeping method has been shown to improve reaction time off the starting block by as much as 17 percent.
LeBron James has won three NBA Championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, three NBA Finals MVP awards, and two Olympic gold medals. James is naturally talented, but one thing that might set him apart from the competition is that he sleeps for 12 hours each night.
When athletes combine plenty of sleep with nutrition and exercise their performance skyrockets.
Shannon Miller is the most decorated gymnast — male or female — in U.S. history. She was the 1993 and 1994 World All-Around Champion, the 1996 Olympics balance beam gold medalist, the 1995 Pan Am Games all-around champion and a member of the gold medal-winning Magnificent Seven team at the Atlanta Olympics.
During competition and training, she made sure to get at least eight hours of sleep (and more whenever possible).
Naps were also a big part of her life. Miller remembers, “I pretty much took a nap every day from the time I started intensive training to the time I retired, which was about a decade. People would find me catching a power nap in all sorts of places on a bus or plane — and even in the splits. I learned early on that sleeping was just as important to my training as conditioning, stretching and skills. I had to give my body and my mind time to recover.”