An athlete staring into their phone before they doze off for the night is telling their brain and body that "it's daytime, wake up!" You're saying: "No kidding TD, everyone knows late night blue-light from mobile devices shuts down melatonin production and kills any shot at a good night's sleep - just have your athletes put their phone down an hour before bedtime." My response to that: bahahahahahaaaaa! Athlete's response to that: "Get the f#@% outta here." Thanks to a new iPhone feature, there's a way around this ordeal but beware - seeing it as a sleep cure-all could be a setup.
An athlete who sleeps well, plays well. It's hard to find an aspect of an athlete's performance ecosystem that's not positively influenced by more high quality sleep. That's why I'm always blabbing about the importance of optimizing the sleep environment and improving the sleep habits of my athletes. That's also why I'm thrilled to hear that Apple finally provided an in-house solution to blocking blue-light pollution on their devices - Enter "Night Shift" (a new feature on iOS 9.3).
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Solution or setup? Every athlete who has an iPhone should absolutely enable the Night Shift feature immediately...BUT. Yeah you could smell that "but" coming from a mile away (that statement came out way more gross sounding than I intended but hey, sometimes gross sells).
Ok, let me reel this one back in here - the but. Yes, if you have an iPhone, flip Night Shift on ASAP but don't fall into the trap of thinking that this alone will solve all of your sleep troubles. Using Night Shift as a sleep cure-all and then ignoring other equally, if not more important sleep hygiene strategies is a trap you don't want to fall into. Avoiding this setup is simple: use Night Shift for what it is - a nice compliment to your sleep success strategies. You still need to stick to the sleep enhancing essentials like creating/sticking to a bedtime routine, avoiding alcohol/caffeine late in the day and making your bedroom a cool, dark, quiet and comfortable sleep sanctuary.
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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge. He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
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