How to Sleep Like an Olympic Athlete


The same sleep strategies used by world-class athletes are all good for regular folks. There’s no doubt about the importance of enough sleep it can be detrimental to your performance.”

Sleep Like an Olympian

With all 160 Hilton rooms now redesigned to ensure the athletes are getting an optimal night’s sleep, the question is, how can we sleep like an Olympic athlete?

“Eight hours of sleep is the standard,” says Mednick. “There is a range, but 7.5 to eight hours of sleep is the optimal amount.”

Like the athletes’ rooms, all of the same rules apply: low light, cool temperatures, and background noise.

“Sleeping in low light is important,” says Mednick. “You need the hormone melatonin to sleep, and brain knows when it should sleep, and when it should get up.”

The Impact of Alcohol

Alcohol is another no-no when it comes to sleeping like an Olympian. Even though we think that glass of wine will knock us out, not so.

“It makes you sleepy at first, but then as your alcohol levels fall, your sleep is more disrupted and fragmented then normal,” McNally tells WebMD. “It makes things worse rather than better.”

Without sleep, the analogy of a blood alcohol level of 0.05 rings true — even if you skip the glass of merlot.

“You’re going to be sluggish, not have enough energy, and have an irritable mood,” says Mednick. “It’s difficult to stay focused and make decisions because your body is not in its optimal state.”

Personalize Your Sleep

The art of sleep, while a crucial part of sports performance and everyday life, can be easy.

“I use to work at NASA so I can say this, but this is not rocket science,” says Rosekind. “It’s kind of amazing that this is not high-level stuff, but most people have not evaluated their own sleep environment, even though they spend a third of their lives asleep.”

When it comes to catching Zzz’s — whether you’re a superstar athlete who’s ready to go for the gold at the Winter Games, or an average skier who avoids moguls like the plague — the key to sleep is to optimize your sleep environment, but also go with what works for you.

“You need to control and create a sleep environment that is personally the most comfortable for you,” says Rosekind. “You want your sleep surface and the accouterments, like pillows, blankets, etc., to be as comfortable as possible for you.”