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A Tennis Players Guide To Sleep

For a Tennis player, sleep is one of the most important things they can do in preparation for a competition. With Wimbledon just around the corner, it made us wonder what the sleep routines are of our favourite tennis pros.

24th June, 2021
by Carl Walsh

The average time people aged between 18-65 are supposed to be asleep is between 7 - 9 hours. If we don’t get enough sleep, this can affect our mood and can make us feel sluggish.  Watching these athletes using up so much energy in training, learning, travelling, and playing all over the world you’d believe that all Tennis players would need more than 12 hours of sleep each night. 

So, how much sleep do our favourite Wimbledon athletes get? Check out the infographic below to see how your sleep routine compares to these tennis stars:

How much sleep do tennis players need?

According to Yutaka Nakamura, Maria Sharapova’s previous physical trainer, Tennis players should get 8-10 hours of sleep a day. So, Williams, Federer, and Murray, what’s going on?

Sleep can drastically impact a tennis players performance, and if they don’t get enough of it, it could be the difference between a good game and a bad game. Studies have shown that good sleep can improve speed, accuracy and reaction time in athletes.

Should tennis players take naps?

Nakamura also says naps are imperative for Tennis players, and a good nap can be like replacing a couple of hours of sleep. If you want to be a tennis player, you should only nap for less than 45 minutes, otherwise, you could go into a deeper sleep state which could be confusing for your body clock.

A great way to utilize sleep for recovery and physical gains is to have a "power nap”. Napping for 15-20 minutes at some point through the day (generally when you feel tired or fatigued), will help recharge your energy and place you in a better state to exercise and concentrate. To become efficient at this, do not stimulate yourself (Watching TV or playing video games) before or whilst trying to get to sleep. You want to get to sleep as quickly as possible and wake after having no more than 20min sleep. Longer than this you can wake up feeling slow and groggy (after 20min your nervous system starts to unwind).

How tennis players get a good night’s sleep:

  • Creating an appropriate sleep environment. Your sleeping space should be dark and cool with little to no noise.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bedtime. These beverages can interrupt sleep or lead to more disturbed sleep.
  • Stay away from electronics in the hours before bedtime. This includes TVs, cell phones, and computers. The blue light that these devices emit can affect your circadian rhythm.
  • Have a wind-down routine. Activities such as reading, taking a bath, or meditating can help you relax and get ready for sleep.

Do tennis players eat anything to get a good night's sleep?

Tennis players are pro’s at knowing how to fuel their body for their performances, but they are also pro’s at knowing which food can help support relaxation and better sleep.  Bananas and lentils are also good tryptophan sources and provide additional relaxing minerals like magnesium and potassium. Carbohydrates, in moderation, can also help tennis players sleep. However, it’s important not to eat too much before bed as the extra digestive efforts can negatively affect sleep quality.

So, if you fancy taking up Tennis as a hobby, you might want to try the sleep tips above to see if it improves your performance!

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