Preparing for a big match involves many facets; proper training, a balanced diet and fluid intake, adequate warm up exercises, mental preparation, competitor knowledge etc.
But the night before a crucial game is also very important that your body and brain has sufficient sleep. Trying to be involved in match play is difficult enough without fatigue.
Most players will prepare their racket bag and have a game plan already worked out, but good professionals will include a good night’s sleep as part of their preparation.
A good night’s sleep is essential for everybody in all walks of life, here are some tips to attain one.
Exercise should be done daily by everyone, but it is not a good idea that you do it too close to bedtime, as this will make your body and mind too alert.
Develop A Sleep Routine
If you have a bedtime routine this will greatly enhance your chances of a good night’s rest. Perhaps have a relaxing bath, but not a shower as this is too stimulating. Try and set a regular bedtime and wake-up time in order to guide your own body clock into a routine.
Sleep In The Same Bed
Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary, not an office. Make it a place for sleep so your mind does not associate it with other activities. Don’t send mixed messages to your subconscious mind.
Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and proper pillows, that the bedroom is dark and at the correct temperature, not too cold or hot. It goes without saying no TV’s or Radio’s.
Allow Enough Time For Sleep
Give yourself sufficient time for sleep, your body repairs damage when it is dormant and needs rest. Eight hours is more than enough to set aside.
Watch Your Eating Habits
Avoid heavy meals prior to bedtime, also avoid spicy foods or high in tyramine (including cheese, bacon, nuts and soy sauce), as they trigger the release of neuro-stimulant norepinephrine.
Eat food such as bread or cereal which trigger the release of serotonin, another neurotransmitter which helps aid sleep.
Watch What You Drink
Alcohol should not be drank before sleeping, it acts as a diuretic which will make you get up several time to go to the toilet. Coffee should also be avoided as it acts as a stimulant and will keep you awake.
Try drinking warm milk, as it contains tryptophan which triggers the release of serotonin and helps slow down your brain activity.
Do Not Smoke
Nicotine is also a stimulant so smoking before sleep is a definate no no.
If you are having trouble sleeping then it is a good idea to perform some relaxation techniques. Perhaps practise some breathing exercises to relax your body and mind, or try using a relaxation or sleep tape.
Do not keep on checking the time and avoid anything that might stimulate your mind. If necessary get up and do something boring.
Sleep is an important factor to how you perform in the big game the day after, following the above advice could assist your body not to be fatigued.
If you are having problems with your sleep problems ask your tennis coach at your local club if he knows any techniques or advice to give.