Olympic fever is well underway, and the heated battles for the podium surely have our attention! But with the London time zone five hours ahead of Toronto and eight hours ahead of Vancouver, supporting our athletes will come at the expense of sleep for many devout fans. Early morning sporting events in London will lead to very early rises for many Canadians.
Michael Deck, Ph.D, an associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine explains it well: “We want to support our Olympians. We want to be there at 5 a.m. watching. But unlike Olympic athletes that are used to getting up at 5 a.m. and working out, we’re not.”
Losing sleep over the Olympics may seem worthwhile at the time, but the negative effects of sleep deprivation will take a toll on your performance and attitude during the day. In addition, once the games have finished, reverting back to your normal sleep schedule may be a challenge.
So what’s the solution for all the sports fans out there? The simple solution that sleep experts advise is to tape record the early morning events and watch them at an hour that is more in tune with your sleep-wake cycle. For those occasional Olympic events that the loyal fans absolutely cannot miss, a short-term solution is to stock-up on sleep in advance. If you know when the must-see event is taking place, try to get a little extra sleep for the few days prior. This will help to reduce the negative side effects of the sleep you will lose on game day. As well, try to limit your caffeine intake, as it will mask your sleepiness, and could also lead to difficulty falling asleep if consumed too late in the day.
Of course it’s important to cheer on our athletes, but not at the sacrifice of your own health. Thanks to technology, there are simple solutions to help you to enjoy the Games and enjoy a full night’s sleep!