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When you don’t get enough of it, you surely feel it. You’re inattentive. You have lapses in concentration. Your reaction time is slower. Your decision-making is suspect. Your recovery is longer. Your risk of injury is higher.
Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative for overall health and well-being. When it comes to physical activity – and, particularly for those competing on the pickleball court for extended periods – a good night’s sleep becomes even more critical.
Most players who seek to improve their game understand the importance of practicing and drilling. Likewise, one would be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree with the importance that nutrition and hydration have on overall match performance. And on the mental side, it’s becoming much more commonplace for professional players to hire mental coaches. And tracking coaches. Professional players are looking for any sliver of an advantage they can get over their fellow competitors that may tip the scales in their favor.
Physical & Mental Benefits of Getting Solid Sleep
But what about sleep? Is sleep prioritized? While the importance of a good night’s sleep is often overlooked or minimized, there are, indeed, tangible benefits:
- Better focus, reaction time, and mental clarity
- Improved energy, strength, and coordination
- Reduced chance of injury
- Enhanced stamina and endurance
- Faster recovery between games/matches
Getting a good night’s sleep before playing pickleball ensures that you’re not only prepared for the physical demands required during gameplay, but also that you have the mental clarity and focus necessary for maximum performance on the court week-in-and-week-out.
9 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Some people are “out” the moment their head hits the pillow and can sleep uninterrupted until their alarm goes off the next morning. Others, not so much. If you struggle with getting a solid night of sleep, here are nine tips that may help.
- Create and Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule – Attempt to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes a consistent sleep-wake cycle.
- Avoid Electronic Devices Before Bed – This one may hit a little too close to home. The blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops can interfere with sleep. Avoid using these devices at least an hour before bed. If you just cannot overcome this habit, be sure to leverage blue-light filters or night mode settings on your devices to minimize their impact.
- Invest in an Organic Mattress – An organic mattress is a type of mattress made from natural materials that are free from synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and other harmful substances. They also don’t add harmful flame retardants. These mattresses are typically made using organic cotton, organic wool, organic latex, or a combination of these materials. By sleeping on an organic mattress, you can minimize your exposure to potentially harmful toxins, which may be beneficial for individuals with sensitivities, allergies, or chemical sensitivities.
- Surround Yourself with Comfortable Bedding – In addition to having a toxic-free mattress, invest in comfortable, organic sheets and a pillow that supports your neck and head and that is free of toxins.
- Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine – Develop a soothing routine before bed to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind and prepare for sleep. Read a book. Take a warm bath.
- Avoid Caffeine – Caffeine can degrade the quality of your sleep. Avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, and pop/soda close to bedtime.
- Avoid Long, Late Afternoon Naps – If you must nap, keep it short (around 20-30 minutes) and earlier in the day.
- Avoid Heavy Meals Near Bedtime – Have dinner a few hours before retiring for the evening.
- Create a Sleep-Conducive Environment – Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
Sleep is critical for optimal physical and mental performance on the pickleball court. Prioritizing sleep as part of your athletic routine can help you excel on the court and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Now, get some zzzzz’s.
See you on the courts!
Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.