5 tips for better sleep from Team USA’s sleep expert

Sleep is incredibly important if you want to go low on the course.

Catching more Z's will help you make more birdies.

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Sleep is something we all need more of, especially us golfers who rise before the sun to make that early morning tee time. 

Whether you’re an Olympic golfer or an average Joe, sleep can only help you improve your performance on the course.

That’s because getting enough rest and recovery can support your mental, physical and immune resilience. If you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll listen to an expert like Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, Chief Medical Officer of Nox Health and a neuroscientist specializing in sleep.

Dr. Durmer also happens to be employed by Team USA’s weightlifting team to help those athletes use sleep to peak during training and competition. 

In an interview with Good Morning America, Dr. Durmer put the importance of getting enough good sleep in pretty black and white terms: 

“It has changed a lot — the perception about sleep, where [athletes] kind of looked at sleep as ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I can workout three times a day.’ What we found is that this concept of overtraining syndrome is really not about overtraining, it’s about under-recovery. So if you’re not recovering enough, your training itself could become a detriment.” 

You might read that and think it’s not that relatable to the average golfer, but that’s where you’re wrong. Golf no matter how you look at it, is about performance. You may not be expecting to shoot 8-under at the Olympics like Sepp Straka did in round one, but you do expect to perform to a certain level on the course. 

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Not getting enough hours in bed can severely impact your ability to play golf to your standards. 

That’s why in the GMA Segment, Dr. Durmer stressed the importance of rest to athletes of all abilities. “If you can actually start to build that into your training routine, it will support all kinds of resilience, mental resilience, physical resilience, immune resilience…so you can actually perform at your highest level,” he says.

Performing at our highest level is something that’s obviously important for us golfers, so if having better mental and physical capacity to play the game you love sounds good to you, here are some tips from Dr. Durmer to help you catch more z’s and make more birdies.

1. Build a bedtime routine:

Set a bedtime for yourself that allows you to get at least eight hours of sleep. Set an alarm to remind you it’s time to hit the hay, and make sure you take the time to wind down with a simple relaxing activity like meditation, reading, stretching or anything you find calming.

2. Cool down:

We sleep best when our core temperature cools down. Taking a warm shower and then cooling down quickly will help you fall asleep. Keeping the room you will be sleeping in at a cooler temperature will also help you fall asleep and stay asleep. 

3. Kick technology out of your room:

Where possible, remove technology and devices from your room. The light from these devices can put your circadian rhythm out of whack and disturb your sleep with the sounds they make. Essentially, you shouldn’t have anything in your room that you don’t need to fall asleep or that will keep you awake. 

4. View sleep as part of your performance:

A good night’s sleep is the basis for your ability to perform on the course the next morning. Treating as such will help you prioritize a good night’s rest and keep you fresh for that ungodly early tee time. 

5. Pay attention to your sleep habits:

How long you sleep for and when you sleep are in your control, however, sleep quality is not. If you notice that you’re giving yourself plenty of time to sleep with a regular routine, but you don’t feel rested, it might be time to consult and expert. 

You don’t have to be an Olympian to sleep like one or see results on the course from getting a better night’s sleep. And with a few simple changes, you could be just one night’s sleep away from playing your best golf yet. 

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Golf.com Editor