The Bedtime Rituals of the Best-Rested
Her routine: Gould says she needs a minimum of eight hours of shut-eye for peak performance, but when she's traveling to compete, she often has trouble falling asleep in different time zones. She's found that wearing an eye mask and earplugs helps block unfamiliar sounds and distracting light. "I call it my total-isolation chamber," she says. These aids have proven so effective that she even uses them at home on nights before a big race.
Make it work for you: Any kind of light—from your clock, laptop, TV, street lamp, neighbor's house—can interfere with the brain's production of melatonin and keep you awake. With Gould's mask and plugs, you create a dark haven—just consider getting a vibrating alarm if you need to be up at a specific time.