Sleep: Advice from a U.S. Olympian

by | Feb 23, 2014 | Blog


Serving Your Country, Serving Yourself Series | Sleep: Advice from a U.S. OlympianLast week, I offered you running as the first ingredient in a recipe to success for serving your country by starting a positive ripple effect with your family, co-workers, and neighbors. This ripple effect starts with healthy decisions that you make for yourself.

The second ingredient is getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Getting a Good Night’s Rest

There is a reason you feel great after a good night’s sleep: So much is happening internally while you’re catching Zzzs! When you’re sleeping, your body has the time to reboot your immune system, metabolism, memory, and other vital functions.

Adequate amounts of sleep can help decrease inflammation (linked to heart disease), stroke, diabetes, arthritis, premature aging, and cancer. The right amount of sleep also reduces your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. With less stress present, your body can then turn to repairing, strengthening, and sharpening everything from head to toe. Human growth hormones are one of the main things that are released while you sleep. If you run, you release even more, which means your body is working to build a stronger you. Plus, all of your physical and emotional adaptations occur while you sleep, which is why snoozing is so important to your physical and emotional growth.


Get into bed 30 minutes earlier. Put your kids to bed 30 minutes earlier as well. Soon, see if you can add another 30 minutes. Your productivity and efficiency will go up, as will your kids’. You’ll be looking at better grades, less behavioral issues, etc. Everyone wins with more Zzz’s!

Tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and cozy.
  • Avoid intense or scary movies in the evening.
  • Choose mornings, as opposed to right before bed, to review your to-do list.
  • Just say no to the afternoon tea or coffee.
  • Avoid overeating right before bed.
  • If you like a glass of wine to end your day, have it around 5:30 or with dinner so it doesn’t disrupt your second sleep cycle.
  • If you like to hit the Jacuzzi or bathe before bed, do this earlier as well, so your body isn’t working to cool off before sleeping soundly.
  • Try some gentle yoga poses or a short meditation before bed (nothing that raises your heart rate, but rather is intended to calm your body and mind).
  • Don’t allow computers and phones in the bedroom (the only exception is if one acts as your alarm clock).

How many hours of sleep a night are you averaging right now?

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