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Don't have time to sleep? Sleep better!

Everybody is aware that sleep is paramount, however, it is not that important that we would pay attention to it. What do I mean? Let‘s check.




Probably we do know that 7–8 hours of sleep seems to be enough, but do we sleep that much? Probably we do know that it is better not to check a phone or watch TV just before going to sleep, but we still watch it? Probably we have heard some other advises how to improve sleep quality, but do we ever follow them?


During one practice BC Žalgiris strength and conditioning coach, Jutinas Grainys, told „the important factors in basketball are: sleep, nutrition and trainings. However, trainings make only 20% of importance but sleep and nutrition have 40% each.” The same was told by Zac Cupples in the podcast : “If we could get everyone [basketball players] to sleep more and eat little bit healthier, it would transcend basketball games”.


However, don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that 80% of basketball abilities will be reached just by sleeping and eating healthy. This shows that we are so advanced in basketball and the limiting performance's factors are sleep and nutrition. Therefore, maybe we need to improve not the training quality/quantity but the sleeping and nutritional habits.


Only for last 3-4 years sleep is priority for me. I read, listen and research about it. Moreover, I included sleep in my master thesis work. Probably what I saw in the thesis and in surrounding environment encouraged me to write this article.




What surprised me the most? Athletes didn't know how to evaluate their sleep; did not understand what does it mean to get good quality of sleep and what good quantity and quality of sleep can give to one.


There are evidences that sleep extension could improve your 3pt shooting percentage up to 9%! (Mah et al., 2011)

Sometimes we used to have departure to a road games or have a training earlier than a person usually would wake up. Who can then assure that the person will be at his/her top during the game/practice if the body is still in the state of sleeping?? Therefore, I decided to provide few advises, how you, athletes, and us, general population, could improve sleep quality.


1. Prepare yourself for sleep.


Sleep starts even before falling asleep.


Unfortunately, it is very common to see family members or close friends sitting in front of TV, PC or mobile phones just before going to sleep. Probably we do not even realize that this time before bed-time affect the sleep quality and, consequently, it impact the next day too!



All those new technologies are very recent among contemporary society and long-term devices’ impact to us is not clear yet. However, what is cleared by scientist — they produce blue-light.


How does blue-light affect us?

Impairs sleep quality and time; Increases amount of awakenings during the night (Link)





Who am I to forbid to use phone or to watch TV before going to bed, but at least I will recommend to reduce blue-light impact.


What could you do differently?


Cell phones and computers:

Download special programs or apps that would reduce blue light in your computer and cell phone (e.g., blue-light filter). Those apps/programs will make your screen little bit reddish and reduce the blue-light (duh). Some of devices can already have blue-light filters, e.g., in the laptop I use a state called “night light”. New version of Apple’s products do have it too.


TV:

If possible, ask yourself “do I really want to watch this TV show, match, movie or do I watch it just because the sake of it”?


Probably a single night will not change your life quality in a long-term period. However, if you’re watching TV daily I would encourage to ask yourself, “why do I watch it?”


If you still can’t imagine your life without TV — these glasses (or similar type) could be a solution for you (link-to-cool-glasses). Yeah, I agree that they aren’t very stylish but they are not designed to go-out. They are used when you are comfortably sitting in front of TV or PC during late evenings. Give it a try, I recommend!


2. Control your environment.


a. Light

Reduce the intensity and amount of light in the room.


Personally, very commonly I use candle light in the evenings which do not have a blue-light.


Just try to avoid direct light exposure and your sleep quality will improve. Probably, I will not surprise you if I will say that even here we can sacrifice few dollars and contribute to our sleep quality. These are the special light bulbs (link) and I would encourage to order few and change in those places where you spend most of the time during evenings.


During the summer nights, I would highly recommend to use blind blockers or something else to cover your bedroom’s windows, especially if you