Marion Bartoli prepared for her Wimbledon semi-final win over Kirsten Flipkens by sleeping in the locker room until 30 minutes before going onto court. Unusual and definitely not what I could muster before a big game but if it works, it works… I guess!
The Frenchwoman stormed past Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour before revealing that she slept from 12noon until 12:30pm before the game started at 1pm. She went on to say she preferred to sleep in the morning rather than in the run-up to a match.
Not only is exercise good for sleep but sleep is good for exercise. Those who play sport professionally need sleep to be at their best.
A 2007 study by Stanford University California found that athletes who slept for up to 10 hours a night showed significant improvements in sprint times, shooting percentages, and energy levels after a few weeks compared with their performances when they managed only 6-8 hours a night. The same university also found in 2011 that while quality unbroken sleep is essential for us all, it’s never more so than for athletes. If you’re consistently sleep-deprived your ability to adapt is lessened, due to alterations in the processes required for muscle tissue and growth hormone.
Now we may not all be Wimbledon winners or Olympic champions but if you do like to exercise make sure you’re getting a good night’s kip – it’s the only way to do it well.
And a quick word of advice for Bartoli – if she wants to win the elusive Wimbledon title on Saturday, get plenty of rest tonight and not just the quick 30 minutes before the match!