How does NBA champion and five-time All-Star Kevin Love remain competitive in the high-stakes world of professional basketball? One answer is a nightly routine that helps him unwind and get a good night's sleep.
Love, who is currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been playing professional basketball for 12 years. He says he's nowhere near done. Despite some serious injuries and a high-profile struggle with anxiety that inspired him to start the Kevin Love Fund, the 31-year-old hopes to stay in the game for years to come. "I don't want to put a number on that," he says. "So long as my body holds up, I'm going to be playing."
This is one reason Love makes sure to get a good night's sleep every night. "Sleep to me is incredibly important," he says. "As far as cognitive function and even mental health goes, it allows you to be more settled, more attentive, more in the moment."
Here's how Love makes sure to get the sleep he needs.
1. He has a nightly routine and a regular bedtime.
"Consistency is really key with sleep," he says. That's why he follows the same routine every night. "I make sure that, within a 30-minute window, I'm going to sleep at the same time every night."
2. He takes magnesium supplements.
Love is careful about his nutrition in general, and takes a variety of supplements. Magnesium is part of his bedtime routine, and Love takes it an hour or 45 minutes before bedtime every night. Magnesium has been shown to help the body produce a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation, and decreases anxiety and depression.
3. He lays out his breakfast and clothes for morning.
Love primes himself for success the next day by laying out the elements of a healthy breakfast so that they're ready to go. Then he lays out his workout clothes and anything else he needs for the next day's practice. Laying out clothes for your morning exercise before bed is a trick many fitness experts recommend, as it makes you less likely to skip your workout in the morning.
4. He stretches and rolls out his muscles.
Stretching before bed is an important nightly routine for Love, and he often lies on foam rollers or uses a lacrosse ball to massage and relax his muscles. "I hold a lot of stress in my feet, so rolling those out is huge," he says.
5. Meditation and blue lights out.
Love usually ends the night with a brief bit of meditation. "Even if it's just two minutes, like doing six to eight deep breaths," he says. "Then I make sure the overhead light is off and most of my blue light is off as well." Blue light, such as the light from a television or smartphone screen, is well known to interfere with sleep.
"Any way you can take care of your body is going to affect you in a very, very big way," he adds. "Both your body, and your mind as well. So it's playing that game, figuring it out, perfecting it, but always knowing there's going to be room for improvement. I think that's what makes it fun."