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Over the past couple of weeks, athletes from all over the world have shown us what the human body can do when it’s firing on all cylinders. From the United States’ gymnastics juggernauts to Usain Bolt’s utter dominance on the track, the Rio 2016 Olympics have been a stunning snapshot of human excellence.
And while any Olympic athlete will tell you that there are dozens of factors that go into winning a medal—from training hard to eating right—perhaps the most important element in any athlete’s daily routine is getting the proper amount of sleep.
The Huffington Post decided to explore that notion a little deeper by assembling some sleeping tips and habits from some of team USA’s top performers. Here’s what they had to say
Gabby Douglas meditates. The gold medal–winning gymnast needs to wind down before going to sleep and relies on meditation to help get her into that spiritually and mentally relaxed state. “With my mind clear, it was easy for me to go to sleep,” she told Cosmopolitan. “I usually wake up eight hours later feeling very refreshed.”
When Sandi Morris is too stressed to fall asleep, she pictures the ocean. On the eve of a major competition, the 24-year-old pole vaulter finds that overwhelming stress often gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. “I try to close my eyes to rest, but the first thoughts that pop into my head are images of what the competition will be like,” she told Greenville Online. To help get her where she needs to be, Morris transports herself to the beach. “I think of the deep ‘whooshing’ sounds of waves hitting the shore, and if I can hold off thoughts of vaulting, I eventually do fall asleep.”
For Madison Hughes, timing is everything. As the captain of USA’s Rugby Men’s Eagles Sevens, Hughes must carry the weight of team on his shoulders, and to do that, he needs the right amount of sleep. Hughes, who averages eight hours of sleep a night, says that discipline is everything. “It’s about being disciplined and saying, “Okay―I know that I need to do this,’ he told HuffPost Rise, adding that going to bed at a specific time everyone night is “going to allow me to get the sleep I need that’s going to allow me to perform at my best.’”
For more Olympian tips on how to get a good night’s sleep visit The Huffington Post.
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