The Sleeping Habits Of Professional Athletes

The level of commitment and dedication both physically and mentally to become a world class professional athlete is widely understood. We often hear of gruelling training regimes that make our 45 minutes in the gym look like a walk in the park, but how does the sleep pattern of a top athlete differ from ours? Here are 5 of the strangest sleep routines from the world of sport.


Real Madrid Football Team

The top professional footballers often receive criticism for the amount of money they earn because their lifestyle seems relatively easy going. If this is how you feel then the sleeping routine of one of European footballs best teams won’t go far to change your mind. Real Madrid boast one of the best squads in the world and with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and iconic Welshman Gareth Bale, pencil in a 2 hour siesta every afternoon following their morning training session.


Michael Phelps

The 6ft 4 American swimmer is the most decorated olympian to date, winning 22 medals across 3 olympic games, but has a bed time routine not many of us would want to copy. Reportedly whilst in training for the 2012 Olympics, Phelps slept in a high altitude chamber he had set up in his bedroom.

The gold medal winner described it in an interview by saying “its like a giant box. Its like boy and the bubble.” The chamber is set to imitate the altitude of 9,000 feet in order to train his body to operate with as little oxygen as possible, ideal for someone who spends so much time under water.


Roger Federer

Roger Federer is regarded as the greatest male tennis player of the modern era and is well known for his cool demeanour on the tennis court. Thankfully Roger has a sleeping pattern many of us could get on board with. Federer has openly admitted to regularly having 9-10 hours a night, saying “I believe it’s the sleep that gives you the energy again down the road”, and who are we to disagree with that?


Michelle Wie

The professional golfer is a rising star, and won the women’s 2014 US Open. Similarly to Mr Federer, Michelle Wie is another on this list who isn’t a stranger to a lengthy nights sleep. In an interview the American said “I slept of 16 hours once. Early in the week of the Sony Open I went to bed at 9.p.m and woke up at 1 the next day. When I can I’ll sleep more than 12 hours, and I don’t feel very good if I get less than 10.”


Usain Bolt

It was widely reported a couple of years ago that the eating habits of the worlds fastest man include consuming over 1000 chicken nuggets during the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, but what about his sleeping habits? The Jamaican reportedly gets between 8-10 hours a night, and has said on the subject that “sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body”. 


Overall what this list shows us (provided we forget all of the hard training) is that if we aim to get over the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night whilst eating our body weight in chicken nuggets we can all in theory be world class athletes.