No matter how good we’ve practiced or prepared ourselves for our next day game of golf, if we get very little or poor quality of sleep the night before, it’s extremely difficult to have a clear mind or good focus of concentration.
This results in poor decision making and lack of good performance on the golf course. Firstly, we have to understand that we have natural Sleep/Wake cycles! The human mind and body have been conditioned to sleep during the hours of darkness and to be awake during daylight hours. If you tend to work shifts, you’re going to find it very difficult to feel energised at the right times. Disrupted sleep can result in Chronic Fatigue, viral symptoms and most commonly headaches.
Here are my nine key tips to help improve your quality of sleep and performance:
1 - Get to bed at a regular time, somewhere from 10-10.30 pm is best. No Later, as the body needs to wind down for physical and mental repair in hours of darkness. Remember that it starts to get light by 5.30 am in summer time. This gives you at least 7 hours rest. You need to be consistent for at least 7 days in a row to condition your bodyclock.
2 - Minimize your exposure to bright lights at least 2 hours before going to bed. This includes light from TV screens or laptops. Remember light triggers the release of the hormone cortisol which stimulates us to stay awake.
3 - Make sure your room is completely dark. Good blinds or heavier curtains should do the trick.
4 - Try not to consume caffeine products after lunchtime, as these are stimulants and take time to go through the body, again keeping us awake.
5 - Avoid sugary snacks before bedtime as these also disrupt sleep through a potential further release of cortisol – the keep me awake hormone!
6 - Stay hydrated! Our body’s water reserve is very low and when we get de-hydrated the body gets stressed and again release keep me awake hormones. So more H2O!
7 - Make sure you have an exercise programme of some sort. Ideally, work out well before dinnertime, which can help to relax the body. But working out after dinnertime and especially if it’s a prolonged or intense workout, will again jack the body up with more cortisol keeping you more wired up, which is not what you want.
8 - Remove all electrical devices from around your bed. This includes lights, alarm clocks, even electric blankets and especially mobile phones. All of the electrical items can affect the body in an adverse way. PS. Turn off your mobile phone to stop late night texts, calls and social media communications. All of which keep you awake.
9 - When all of the above is good and you’re still not sleeping, check to see if you need to de-tox your body. If you’ve got a parasite or fungal infection and too much toxic waste, your adrenal glands will be working overtime producing wake me up hormones in response to the stress these are having on the body. Get more good bacteria into the body by drinking goats milk, to help re-balance the system.
In summary: Regular bedtime before 10.30pm.
Minimize exposure to bright lights two hours before bedtime.
Sleep in a darkened room.
No caffeine or other stimulants after 1pm.
Avoid sugary snacks before bedtime.
Stay hydrated – more H2O – upto 3 litres per day.
Exercise early in the day to help relax the body for later.
No electrical items near your bed.
De-tox the body with exercise, hydration and good bacterial foods (goats milk).
Remember- Sleep well to play well!
Michael Langford Golf Performance Ireland