Lebron James is a Basketball God. For seven straight years he’s been to the NBA finals, the pinnacle of athletic achievement. During that time he has shattered every meaningful statistical category, while keeping his body in pristine condition — though Lebron turns 33 this year, his athleticism hasn’t aged in a decade.
While none of us may ever play in the NBA finals (or possibly even our own rec league finals), still, the burning question is this: What makes Lebron James so ageless? The answer, it turns out, is copious amounts of training… and sleep.
Sleep is Where Recovery Happens
According to a recent ESPN article, Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent success is directly tied to the sleep that they’re getting. After suffering a string of embarrassing losses, their trainers looked at ways to spark more energy for their players during games.
They decided that the best course of action was to sleep more, keeping the players in one city overnight so that their sleep schedule wasn’t interrupted so they could get a full night of their best sleep. It’s something that head athletic trainer, Steve Spiro, said is vital to athletic success.
So how much does Lebron actually sleep? The average American’s sleep schedule, which according to a recent Gallup poll was around 6.8 hours a night. That’s over an hour less than the 8 hours of sleep recommended by sleep scientists, and that little sleep is actually detrimental to our health!
Contrast that with Lebron, who sleeps a whopping twelve hours a night.
Lebron is a Sleep Pioneer — And He’s Not the Only One
Lebron has been at the forefront of sleep technology for a while. He even sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber to maximize the amount of oxygen in his blood whenever he has a game day. He’s not the only one, point guard Steve Nash used to sleep upwards of twelve hours on game days — and he played until he was forty.
So How Can You Sleep Like Lebron?
While you may not have time to dedicate to sleeping twelve hours a night (and your body probably doesn’t need that much anyway) it is worth noting that adding sleep is a vital part of any workout routine. A night of your best sleep is the time when your body gets a chance to regenerate and rejuvenate the energy it has depleted during the day. But how do you make sure that you are getting your best rest?
Power down your devices. Those aren’t doing your sleep schedule any favors. Blue light is the most profound enemy of sleep, and devices also contribute to anxiety and depression, which can affect your psyche before you fall asleep.
Eat the right things. Foods that are rich in potassium can often help the production of melatonin, a vital hormone that has to do with sleep regulation in the body.
Sleep on schedule. It’s important to make sure that you’re sleeping at the same time every day. Try not to stay up too late on the weekends, even if you’re sleeping in to make up for it, it can have a profound effect on your circadian rhythms.
Most importantly, make sure your sleep-tech game is on point. Your mattress can make the difference between restful sleep and a whole night spent tossing and turning. But how do you know if you’ve found the right one?