Getting enough sleep ahead of the big game is extremely important to your performance, but getting enough shuteye is a lot easier said than done. Being stressed about the team you’re facing, worrying about how well you’re going to perform, or thinking about how many people are going to be there to watch the match can make it nearly impossible for you to sleep.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to get better sleep days ahead of the big game so you have plenty of rest to perform your very best.

Schedule an Appointment With Your Doctor

If you’re having trouble sleeping more generally, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. There could be a reason why you aren’t getting restful sleep.

Sleep apnea is a fairly common problem that can make it difficult to get restful sleep, even if you think you’re getting enough shuteye. Even seemingly simple problems, like allergies, can make it difficult to fall sleep.

In some cases, it could be something more serious. REM sleep behavior disorder can make it nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep. Those who have this disorder are 59 percent more likely to have had a head injury, which makes it a possibility if you play a contact sport, like football.

Visit with your doctor, no matter what challenges you’re facing, and they can help you get to the root of your sleep troubles and provide you with solutions.

Get Extra Sleep Days Before the Game

It’s important to get rest the night before the big game, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the only night of sleep that really matters. At least one study has shown that increasing your sleep days ahead of the game can have positive effects on your performance.

A few days ahead of the game, try and increase your sleep to nine or ten hours each night. Not only will it help you get the most out of your workouts ahead of the game, but it can help you find the energy to play the day-of, even if your nerves prevented you from getting restful sleep the night before.

Create a Strict Routine

Babies and toddlers aren’t the only ones who can greatly benefit from having a nighttime routine. Adults can too!

Create a nighttime routine that works for you and do it each and every night. When you repeat the same behaviors over and over again, your body associates them with sleep. It can help you get enough shuteye, even if you’re a little stressed or anxious.

A few nighttime routine tips include:

  • Do something to unwind, like take a bath
  • Do stretches or yoga
  • Read a book or write in a journal
  • Turn off the TV and other screens

Take Things Easy the Day Before

Although it can be tempting to hit your workout hard the day before the big game to help ease your nerves, you should try and take things easy.

Rest and recovery are important to exercise in general, but they are especially important when you’re playing sports. If you work out too hard the day before, you may not have enough energy for the big game the next day. Not to mention, if you work out too hard, you could end up with an injury that will make playing even harder.

That doesn’t mean you can’t workout at all! Play a light game and do plenty of stretches. Just make sure you don’t hit your workout as hard as you normally might.

Sneak in a Nap, if You Need It

Having a hard time getting sleep ahead of the big game? Although it’s not a good idea to get into the habit of sleeping for hours every afternoon, as it can affect the sleep you get at night, you can make napping work for you.

Try giving yourself 20 or 30 minutes to take a nap if you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed. It can give you a chance to get some rest, which is important if you’re preparing for a big game that’s right around the corner.

Rest is important in everyday life. It’s hard to get through the day if you don’t get enough sleep, but it is even more difficult if you’re trying to play in an important game. No matter what sport your play, follow these tips, and you can do your best to get quality sleep. That way you can perform at your peak, even under pressure.