How the USA Athletes are Using Sleep as a Training Technique for Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/13/2021, 6:33 AM EDT
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 15: Allyson Felix of the United States competes in the Women’s 400m final on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world are rigorously training for the highly-anticipated Tokyo Olympics 2020. Once an athlete reaches the Olympic podium, they are no less than real-life heroes.


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The pandemic has taught the world the importance of mental and physical health. Team USA has also been taking care of their mental health and sleeping schedules.

There can be a misconception that athletes train 24*7, forgetting everything else; however, that is not the case. Athletes focus on every tiny aspect, like sleeping, taking proper rest, diet, and breaks.


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Even Olympic legend Usain Bolt considers sleep extremely important to recover from training. A normal person might sleep 6-8 hours, but Olympians need more sleep to reboot their bodies. One example is Basketball legend, LeBron James, as he sleeps 12 hours per night.

Team USA tracks their sleep ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2020

Olympic powerhouse USA is aiming to clinch a plethora of medals in Tokyo. In order to do so apart from physical, mental training is also crucial. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has been taking care of these factors as well.

USOPC partnered with Sleeprate in 2014, and it has been helping athletes track their sleeping patterns using heart rate data. According to senior sport psychologist Lindsay Shaw, an athlete should sleep for at least 9-10 hours a day.

Team USA has a full support system to help them with their problems regarding sleeping. It is normal for athletes to have insomnia or sleep apnea, as the pressure for the Olympics builds up.

In Olympic history, sometimes even world champions could not win because of lack of sleep. USOPC and athletes don’t want any factor hampering their performance and hence, sleep has been made a crucial part of training.

TOKYO, JAPAN – MARCH 25: A boat sails past the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Rings on March 25, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Following yesterdays announcement that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed to 2021 because of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, IOC officials have said they hope to confirm a new Olympics date as soon as possible. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Jet lag management programs

There is a 13-hour difference between Japan and USA time zones. It will be difficult for athletes to adapt to the time zone difference. But, USPOC has even planned that ahead of Tokyo Olympics.

Team USA will be given jet lag management plans before boarding their planes. The plan will try to mimic the sleeping schedules of athletes with Tokyo timings so that they can easily adapt to Tokyo. Also, no one oversleeps or lack sleeps which might affect their next day.

Sponsor truck and staff lead the relay before the runners’ arrival during the first day of a Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in the Saitama prefecture, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Wako, Japan July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Androniki Christodoulou

At Tokyo Olympics 2020, every minute will be important for athletes. Some will compete at their maiden, while Olympians would come back to reclaim their positions.


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The atmosphere in the Olympic Village with competitors from around the world can be thrilling and overwhelming. With matches, dope tests, and even covid tests, the mental pressure would be intense for athletes. Hence, the sleeping schedules might get affected, however, athletes would focus on getting proper rest if not sleep.

USA topped the medal charts in the 2016 Rio Olympics with 121 medals, will Team USA again dominate the Olympics in Tokyo?


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Shreya Verma

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Shreya Verma is an NBA and Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. A graduate of Political Science, Shreya comes from a strong sports background. A professional 10m air pistol shooter, Shreya is also a tennis enthusiast.