Photo collage of three women athletes running and working out at a gym.

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Tips to Help You Sleep Like an Elite Athlete: Olympic Athletes Tell All

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Tips to Help You Sleep Like an Elite Athlete: Olympic

Sarah Hendrickson, World Champion Olympic Ski Jumper, Sleep Number® setting 75

World Champion Gold medalist and named to five world championship teams. First woman to ever ski jump in an Olympics.

For me, sleep is so important to everything I do. I usually get between eight to ten hours every night, and it’s very regimen‑like. If I get anything less, I immediately know it’s going to be a rough day — anything from being grumpy, to lack of motivation at the gym, which leads to a poor training session, poor day on the hill, etc. It’s super frustrating, versus having a good night’s sleep, and immediately waking up feeling well-rested and ready to be motivated at the gym — sleep makes all the difference in the world. Having a good night’s sleep versus a bad night’s sleep is day-changing and life-changing for me as an athlete. I’m addicted to that feeling of waking up and feeling energized, and putting good food in my body, and being able to execute my gym workout efficiently and with purpose. Everything is a domino effect after getting a good night’s sleep: Feel good, eat healthy and exercise more efficiently.

Going through multiple surgeries and the hard times associated with them, I’ve learned to listen to my body more than just what’s on the schedule for the day. Now, if I look at the schedule and see that I have training at 8:00 a.m., but I’m exhausted after getting back late from a media interview or something, I’ll text my coach and say, “Hey, I need to sleep in tomorrow. Can we push training back?”  And, luckily, he is so supportive of that. He sees rest and sleep as just as important as training.

For my bedtime routine, I try to read 20 to 30 minutes before I go to sleep, which helps me relax my brain. I usually do a little bit of stretching or yoga before I get into bed, and then I always sleep with an eye mask and earplugs because I travel so much.


Gwen Jorgenson, World Champion Triathlete and Olympic Gold-Medalist, Sleep Number® setting 65

Won Gold in Triathlon in the 2016 Rio Olympics. New mom. Switching from triathlon to marathon training.

Sleep is important and always a part of my training philosophy. I believe sleep and recovery are two of the most overlooked things in athletics. I normally like to get between eight to nine hours of sleep, plus an early afternoon nap. If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I wake up the next day and can’t do what I normally do. I’m not recovered enough to have a good training session.

Sleep is important for recovery in my sport, but also for my personal well-being, and my happiness. When I get a good night’s sleep I wake up refreshed and ready to go, and can get a lot more done throughout the day. As an athlete, we track all sorts of measurements, which help us know how to train and how to get better performance.  SleepIQ® technology in my Sleep Number® bed has been vital to helping me make a transition from triathlons to marathons. I’m able to see if I’m recovered. How well I slept. Was I restless last night? It’s been important to see those things to ensure I’m recovering, so I can keep progressing and increasing my run mileage.


Melissa Stockwell, World Champion and Paralympic Bronze-Medalist, Sleep Number® setting 75

Won Bronze in the 2016 Rio Para-triathlon. 3-time World Champion. Military veteran. New mom.

Sleep, nutrition and exercise are three key components to my success. I need to fuel my body for the energy I want to put out. I train about three hours a day, swimming, biking, running or strength training.

A good, full night’s sleep is crucial to my training program. Every time I get out in the pool, bike, or go out for a run, I need it to be the best session I can do. I’m then able to maintain the paces I want in training, so I can then do them in competition. When I’m fully rested, I can be there mentally, I can focus better, and keep my mindset clear to get in my best training session.

Sleep is the beginning of it all for me. Without sleep I won’t have correct training sessions. I won’t take the time to make a proper nutritious meal. So, the three work together to make me the best athlete I can be, and the best mom I can be to fulfill each day.

If I have a difficult workout and want to have a softer bed that night to let my lower back settle down, I soften my Sleep Number® bed. The adjustability of the bed helps me be comfortable and get the most recovery that I can. A good night’s sleep and feeling rested is part of my success.


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Quality sleep will keep you performing your best. Like diet and exercise, sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number® beds with SleepIQ® technology inside adjust to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support. SleepIQ technology tracks how well you sleep each night, giving you personal insights into your sleep so you’ll learn how life affects your sleep and how sleep affects your life. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.

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