Sleep Health

Australian Open 2021 sleep survival guide

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For many tennis fans, staying up late to watch the Australian Open is an annual summer ritual. However, evening matches in Melbourne can lead to a few late nights. And as the championship progresses, they can sometimes stretch well past midnight – Remember the 2012 final?

With over 2 million Australians watching the men's final last year, it's safe to say a lot of us love our tennis. Yet, we also love our sleep. Something has to give; supporting your favourite players will likely come at the expense of not getting enough shuteye.

While losing sleep over a great match may seem worthwhile at the time, sleep deprivation can take its toll on your mental and physical health. You'll not only have trouble staying awake during the day but also with recalling information, concentrating on work and making good decisions. What's worse is that once the tennis is over, you'll likely find it hard to go back to your regular sleep routine.

With all that considered, we also know there will be some of you who won't be able to resist. For your sake, we've put together some ways to help you get your AO fix without losing too much sleep.

Survival tips

  • Record the match and watch it at a time that's more in tune with your sleep-wake cycle. You'll probably find the match available for streaming on-demand as well.
  • Watch the match away from your bedroom so that once you're in bed, you can focus on sleep and nothing else. A good rule is never to bring a screen into your bedroom.
  • Wear blue-light blocking glasses if you're watching on a computer screen or phone. It'll help minimise its disruptive effects on your circadian rhythm.
  • Stick to a strict bedtime even if it means turning off an exciting match because you won't know how long it will continue for. The 2012 final went past 1:30 am!
  • Stock up on sleep the night before a big match to reduce the sleep debt you might incur from staying up. It'll help if you go to bed earlier the following night too.
  • Limit your food and drink intake, especially caffeine and alcohol, during the match as it can lead to difficulty falling asleep – making a late-night even later.
  • Turn the screens off right after the match, and don't stay up for the commentary or ceremony. Be happy with the live match. You can catch up on the rest later.
  • Go for an early walk on the morning after a late-night as natural daylight can help you feel more alert and keep your circadian rhythm in check.

Yes, the Australian Open can be gripping but remember that your overall health, well-being and performance depend on your sleep. We hope the tips above will help you achieve a healthy compromise between being a loyal fan and a functional human being.

Andrew Mun

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