6 Sleep Habits and Early Morning Rituals of World Cup Champion Alex Morgan
As a gold medal Olympian and FIFA Women's World Cup Champion, Alex Morgan knows more than most about the importance of sleep and recovery. “I abuse my body every day for my job on the pitch,” she told Entrepreneur, “so it is vital to me to feel rested and recovered when I wake up.”
To that end, Morgan has announced her partnership with Molecule, makers of a high-tech sleep system and recovery engineered for athletes. “It’s an honor to have Alex join our team of Molecule athletes that includes Tom Brady and Russell Wilson," says the company's founder and CEO Albert Oh. "Alex takes her recovery just as seriously as she does her training, and it reflects on her performance and her position as one of the leading athletes in the world."
Entrepreneur caught up with Morgan shortly after she scored two goals against Jamaica to help the USWNT qualify for the 2019 FIFA World Cup -- USA! USA! USA! -- to talk about her sleep routine, meditation, and of course, just how awesome it feels to bury a ball in the back of the net.
Gold-medal morning routine
“I like to do guided or unguided meditation in the morning. That kind of sets up my day feeling positive and optimistic. When I'm home, in the morning I always love going for a walk with my dog and my husband and just feel the fresh breeze. My husband lives in Manhattan Beach -- getting that ocean air before it gets too hot out, there's like nothing it.”
How to put your brain on the bench
“Winding down for me is reading before bed or finishing a crossword puzzle. My husband and I and some of my teammates are really into crossword puzzles! [Laughs] I do feel like I'm going a million miles per hour during the day -- I'm training, I'm trying to see my family as much as possible, I have interviews -- so for me, it's important to give myself 30 minutes to an hour to just rest my brain. I really wish I could ban my phone from my bedside, but I don't have that much self-control!”
A bad bed is worse than jet lag
“I find myself sleeping in different beds all the time because of being on the national team and pretty much being on the road all the time. I think we were on the road 150 days last year, which is more than the men's national team or most teams in general. It creates a sort of jet lag feeling. When I don't sleep well I feel more irritable and stressed out. There's a negativity that comes over me when I'm training because obviously if you're tired, you’re running around wondering how long you've been out there and when it's going to end. So just having a sleep system that works for me important for all around positivity and just lowering stress levels.”
Why team with Molecule?
“I hadn't previously partnered with anyone in that category because I hadn’t found the right products for me. So after they reached out to me and gave me the product to try I was pretty impressed with the technology behind it. Among other things, it has a cooling system that I've never seen before in a mattress. And after learning more about the tech and meeting with the team, I was excited to partner with them, and I actually have some equity in the business -- that's how much I was impressed by them.”
Getting ready for big moments
“What tends to work for me is a sort of meditation or visualization before the game. I love to step on the field before the game, before there are fans in the stadium, when the grass has been untouched. I like to visualize myself scoring a goal or going up against a defender or battling for a header. That helps me focus more during a game because I feel like I've been there and I've done that before. If things aren’t going great during a game, I tell myself to forget anything I've done so far -- shots I've missed or losing a tackle or losing the ball. I get myself back in the present moment and focus on the positive.”
“What does it feel like to score a goal? I'm always stumped for this question, but the best way I can put it is that scoring a goal is like being a kid all over again. It's this pure euphoric feeling that you don't get as an adult as often anymore. Celebrating with my teammates is the greatest, knowing that nobody is doing it on their own. I'm not the one who started the play that got me the ball to score with. I love it. You know, during the game, there will come moments when you are so tired and you feel like you can't make that 30-yard run, but after you score, you have no problem sprinting across the field to your bench to celebrate with the team. You don't feel your legs at that moment, it's amazing.”