How Famous Athletes Sleep
All humans sleep, but like many things related to our physical bodies and their well-being, professional athletes take it extremely serious. After all, they do make a living staying in shape, and performing to the best of their abilities in their respective sport. In order to get up everyday and train at peak performance, an athlete must first get ample rest. Here’s a handful of well-known athletes from some of our favorite sports, and what they’ve said about their sleep.
This upcoming season will be Fitzgerald’s 13th in the NFL (for reference, the average football career is 3.2 yrs), and with so many years of high-intensity training, and physical play, sleep is vital to rest and repair his body. In an interview with Huff Post, he noted that he regularly sleeps 9 hours a night, but for nights before a game, he aims for 10-11 hours. He also had this to say in that same interview: “I always get my rest and I think that’s one of the things that people don’t talk often about. Your body heals and repairs itself better than anything.”
Being the fastest human on the planet doesn’t come easy, nor does winning 6 Olympic gold medals for being that fast; for him, sleeping is just as vital as training. He typically sleeps 8-10 hours per night, and said in an interview: “Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body”
One of the best in the game, a 2-time NBA Champion and 4-time MVP, LeBron James has to perform optimally to keep his perch as an elite basketball player and compete for titles. This means counting shots and practice and counting sheep in bed; he strives for 12 hours per night (half a day!), leading the pack among athletes in a study referenced by MIT Technology Review.
For many, Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time with 17 Grand Slam Titles to his name, and still at the age of 34, he’s ranked No.3 in the world (The average age of Top 100 players is approx. 27.5 yrs). He’s been able to sustain a long, successful playing career, thanks to his tireless training, and the rest that allows him to continue training. According to Roger: “If I don’t sleep 11-12 hours a day, it’s not right.”
Phelps might have taken sleeping to a whole new level. The 18-time gold medalist swimmer took his olympic training so seriously, he even did it in his sleep. In preparation for the London Olympics, Phelps slept in a chamber that simulated being at altitudes of up to 9,000 ft., causing his body to work harder to obtain oxygen. This resulted in improvement to endurance and blood flow.
While golf may not be as physically demanding as the respective sports of the other athletes on this list, none of them have been performing at top-flight level as early as Michelle Wie. Qualifying for PGA Amateur events since she was 10 (10!!!), Wie knows the importance of sleep, telling Golf Digest: “When I can, I’ll sleep more than 12 hours, and I don’t feel very good if I get less than 10.”
BONUS: here’s a chart showing how some of these and a few other famous athletes sleep: