Here’s What One Sports Psychologist Tells His Star Clients About Sleep – NBC Los Angeles

The world’s greatest athletes perform at the highest levels to achieve high honors and championships in their respective sports. 

But even the most athletic players and the most successful teams in the world have staff that features a sports psychologist who looks out for the players’ mental health. And the best in the business is Dr. Michael Gervais, who is a high-performance psychologist, co-founder of Compete to Create and the founder and host of Finding Mastery Podcast.

Dr. Gervais has worked with world record holders, Olympians, artists, musicians and star athletes from every major sport. He spent time with the Seattle Seahawks as their sports psychologist, where he worked with the team closely.

Something that athletes work on with their psychologists is performance anxiety, which is also familiar to those who may not play sports. More than 60% of athletes reported insomnia the night before the competition and the lifestyle — which includes frequent travel, variable schedules and injuries or pain — can also create insomnia for the players.

Dr. Gervais shared with NBC Sports that the lack of sleep may be because your mind is “Running … mental rehearsals. It’s thinking about the future.”

“It’s thinking about things that can go well and things that might not go so well. And that is such a stimulating activity that it keeps us up.”

For athletes, their minds might be focused on the outcome of a big game like the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl. If you’re not a professional athlete, you may be thinking about an upcoming job interview or your wedding day. 

But Dr. Gervais says, “Don’t worry about it … It’s not that big of a deal.”

Well, that’s easier said than done, Doc. Try telling Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts or Kansas City Chiefs signal caller Patrick Mahomes that Super Bowl LVII isn’t a big deal. 

But Dr. Gervais shared a few tips that you can do that will help you get such much-needed rest:

1. Get out of bed, keep the light off and brush your teeth. 

2. Close your eyes and put each body part to sleep.

These night-time routines may seem simple, but Dr. Gervais says that your brain is tricked into getting into sleep mode. 

While players like Hurts, Mahomes and brothers Travis and Jason Kelce have just a few more days before the biggest game of their careers, with these tips they will arrive at the game well-rested.

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