Sleep is so easy to take for granted, and many of us do, but science continues to show how important sleep is for a healthy mind and body. So I was excited to welcome Andre Iguodala and Dr. Cheri Mah to a TIME for Health Talks on how we can get the most from our sleep. Andre, a three-time NBA champion with a 14-year career in the league, is a long-time advocate for the importance of sleep. He met Cheri, a physician-scientist at University of California, San Francisco, through his team trainers and she helped him to re-think sleep and change his sleep habits.
Before we got into how he changed his sleep habits, Andre shared his thoughts on the long-overdue discussions about social and racial injustice that are happening around this country, and how critical this movement is for triggering lasting change. He provided a poignant personal example of how systemic racism is in our country, and discussed the changes he has seen during his career, as well as what changes still need to be made for true social equity.
I invited Cheri to join the conversation and talk about what happened after Andre started sleeping better. And, as they discuss, it was pretty remarkable. Cheri works with professional athletes and instead of simply advising people how to improve the quality of their sleep, she documents how those changes can impact their performance—both mental and physical—which Andre definitely noticed after becoming a better sleeper.
Their tips for getting more out of your sleep aren’t just for elite athletes. Here is Andre’s and Cheri’s advice for sleeping better and living a healthier life.
- Create a wind down routine to prepare yourself for sleep, like journaling or reading.
- Make your sleep environment sleep-friendly with shades, cool sheets and a relatively cool room temperature.
- Have your partner make the same sleep changes.
- Turn off electronics, or put them in a different room.
- Wear comfortable pajamas. (This is important for Andre, because it helps to signal that it’s time for his body to wind down and rest.)