How much sleep do professional athletes need? - Endurance Athlete Sleep Formula

Average Nightly Sleep Time for Americans 
Over the years I have engaged in many conversations regarding sleep and specifically how much sleep various professional athletes get. While the results have varied from person-to-person and what period of life they are in, I have found that most athletes who don't have time restrictions sleep quite a bit.

Every single professional athlete I have surveyed across running, cycling, swimming, basketball, volleyball, golf, football, cross-fit, triathlon, and baseball gets at least 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Many more get 9, 10, even 12 hours of sleep. Ironically one of the most interesting things about motivational speakers is they are always talking about how one is "sleeping their life away" but high-level athletes know you can't "out hustle" sleep and that it is an incredibly important part of the process.

Regardless, in my career as a professional triathlete I came up with my own Endurance Athlete Sleep Formula that was pretty spot on without using an alarm clock and to wake up naturally. This basic formula is as follows:

Endurance Athlete Sleep Formula:

8 hours of sleep + 30 mins of sleep for each hour of exercise.

Thus if you exercise 2 hours a day you get to sleep for 9 hours. Exercise 4 hours and you get 10 hours of sleep. Simple as that. Now all exercise isn't created equal and intensity matters just as much as duration but to keep it simple this is what I have allowed myself to sleep.

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