Sleep Like an Athlete

I love sleep. Seriously, we go way back. One of the most stressful things I deal with is not getting enough sleep. You know, when you went to bed early, and lie awake for 5 hours mind going a mile a minute and not resting.

That sucks.

I kind of wish my legs could run like my mind, but I’ll have to wait for science to figure out how to do that.

This type of stress is not only bad for recovery, but sleep is crucial to get the most from your training. Sleeping is when the work actually gets done. The muscles build, the mind and body work behind the scenes to make you a better athlete.

That said, take a nap or two people, you’re not lazy! You’re training!

I wanted to share some sleep tips for athletes that was created by Casper, the sleep start up company. I have heard them mentioned on the Rich Roll podcast and if Mr. Roll himself is a fan, I respect him enough to check them out and encourage you to as well. Their ‘Sleep Like A Champion’ guide includes great information, so I thought I’d share it with you and include some of my own tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

Casper asked me what I do to ensure I recover like an athlete. I was not paid to write this post, but thankful for the infographic they had provided. If interested in more information about Casper and their mattresses, visit their site. Now, the following list is what I do to help me perform my best not only on my runs, but also at my busy job:

1.) Go to bed early, even if I don’t fall asleep right away

I have found that there is something relaxing just laying in the dark, on my bed, warm in silence. Sometimes is does take me a while to fall asleep, but just being in a horizontal position in THE DARK is helpful to get your body to rest.

2.) Work on my hip mobility

After every run, I do drills. This takes little time and I would gladly sacrifice extra time scrolling through social media or my email over breakfast than skipping these.

3.) Cross-train (instead of running more)

I am not at the point where I can run too high mileage. I’m still relatively young in the sport. However, I do think that double sessions a few times a week are beneficial. Biking, strength work or mobility drills are some things I do instead of extra miles that keep me happy and healthy

4.) Do something for pleasure

For me, that’s reading a book. I love my fiction novels or a good endurance book (a story, not a “how-to” guide, or biography). I honestly look forward to sitting in my chair and reading before dinner. At other points in my life, it’s been watching Scandal, tanning outside or talking on the phone. Do something everyday that gives you pure joy. Running does that for me as well, but since I am training, I do not include that because it is a stress on the body. Just have something else in your life that makes you smile.


 For more information about Casper and their mattresses, visit

17 thoughts on “Sleep Like an Athlete”

  1. I really need to work on getting more sleep, especially while at school. Last semester I was averaging about 5 hours a night (so bad!!) so it’s one of my goals to get to bed a bit earlier and catch up on sleep this year!

  2. WOW. I’m realizing that I really need to get more sleep, and I’m glad to see that you shared how much sleep is good for being a ‘champion.’ The last few days I’ve been catching up on sleep, and it’s been so awesome.

    One of the ways that I usually go to sleep is praying. It really settles my mind and gets me focused on the fact that God is in control, and I don’t have to worry about anything.

  3. Its amazing the work that happens while we sleep. That being said, I wish we didn’t need it (or at least as much). I was actually just having a conversation yesterday with Dan about how much sleep people need and how it can be so individual. I actually find I work absolute best on 6, maybe 7, hours of sleep. If I get more than 8 I feel groggy and tired throughout the day. Maybe this isn’t good or enough? I don’t know.

    1. It isn’t either good nor bad Cora. We each are individual and need different amounts. If 6 or 7 works for you, there’s no point in forcing yourself to get more. If you want to nap, nap, if you don’t, then don’t. Just like there’s no perfect body, there’s no perfect amount of sleep 🙂

  4. This infographic makes me want to go catch some quality Zzzs. As my schedule gets busier, I keep pushing back my bedtime, but it takes a toll. I get hyper emotional and sensitive when I don’t get enough sleep, and I know my workouts suffer. I not an athlete, by any stretch of the imagination, but these tips for recovery are still awesome. Thank you, Ellie!

    1. I’m more the person who would rather wake up early than stay up late. After like 9:00 I’m searching for the covers and my pillow. Sometimes I think students need as much recovery as an athlete. You use your brain (which takes tons of energy) so much everyday!

  5. Hi Ellie

    One problem with me is that I find it difficult to sleep early due to finally having time to myself after the kids are in bed.

    I do remember a few years back where for a few months I was disciplined to go to bed at 10 pm and actually tried to fall asleep instead of playing on my iPad etc. I was extremely productive the next day, getting exercise and work done.

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