It seems like nothing can slow down track-star Olympian Allyson Felix, but lately she's been willing to take a rest. Rather than amping up her gym schedule ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the nine-time Olympic medal winner says that this time around, she's focusing on one very important thing: getting enough sleep.
"Recovery is a huge piece of my training," Felix tells Woman's Day. "I really made that a priority this year."
Felix, who trains for a grueling five hours a day, five to six days a week, says that when she's not putting in time at the track or in the gym, she's focusing on how giving her body proper recovery time can play a bigger role in her athletic pursuits.
"I think when I was younger I always felt like I wanted to do as much as I could — quantity was everything — and now that I'm older, and as a mom, it's really quality over quantity," Felix says. "It's about training smarter. For me, being able to focus on recovery allows me to come back and get quality work the next day as well."
Wanting to develop a better sleep routine, the runner worked with a sleep coach from Reverie, a sleep tech company that she recently partnered with. The key, she says, is having a consistent routine. And for Felix, that routine involves an 11 p.m. bedtime, limiting screen time before bed, and having quiet time that gets her ready for sleep.
But Felix says her improving sleep hasn't just a pre-bedtime ritual; it's also part of her morning routine. She wakes up each day around 6:30 or 7 a.m., and starts her day with a bit of reading time outside in the sun. "What I learned from the sleep coach is that it helps your circadian clock to expose yourself to that natural light and get that boost," she says.
As Felix's sleep routine has become more important in her training, she's made it a family affair.
"Being a mom has totally changed the game," she says. "But what has really helped is making [my daughter's] sleep a priority as well, and being consistent with that. She’s a good little sleeper now. It’s changed since she turned 1, and she's started sleeping much better. Since I have a consistent routine, it’s a good example for her."
Getting a good night's sleep has tons of health benefits, and as Felix has learned, it can help quite a bit in athletic training. So next time you prioritize a night of deep sleep, you can tell yourself you're training like an Olympian.
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