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Football Fans Could Lose Up To One Hour Of Sleep Every Game

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EURO 2024 has started and football fans from around Europe have travelled to Germany to watch their teams attempt to bring it home. And it’s not just them watching. This tournament is expected to attract a live audience of around five billion.

5 billion
people are expected to watch the Euros

While not every team will make it to the final - and your team could be out sooner than you might hope - one thing is for sure, you are going to lose sleep during the tournament. But you might be surprised just how much you could lose.

Man sleeping holding a football and football trophy.

Adrenaline levels could keep football fans from sleeping for up to TWO days after a match

It’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of watching your team play. In fact, a study has shown that ‘hardcore’ football fans experience intense levels of stress and ‘fight or flight’ while watching games. These levels increase when a team loses.

Norepinephrine, also known as Noradrenaline, is part of your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. It Increases alertness, arousal, and attention and affects your sleep-wake cycle. In times of extreme stress, exercise, and excitement, Norepinephrine levels can stay elevated for up to 48 hours. So, that last match could impact your sleep for TWO days. But that’s not it...

The UK will be in over 15 billion hours of sleep debt over the course of the Euros

An adrenaline rush - one you might experience from watching your team live - can last up to one hour in extreme situations. If you are one of those experiencing extreme emotions watching football, you could see an impact on your sleep. 

So, when you finally try to sleep, that adrenaline rush and high cortisol levels can stop you from sleeping. With an estimated five billion tuning in and group stages consisting of three games for each side in the hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages, fans could be losing a collective 15 billion hours of sleep over the course of the Euros. 

The more sleep you lose each game, the more sleep debt you have. So, if fans lose one hour for every game their team plays (and they end up in the final), fans could quickly lose up to a full day of sleep during the tournament. 

If you have noticed your sleep suffering on match days, there are things you can do to get some much-needed shut-eye.

Experts reveal the ideal bedtime routine for football fans

If you are struggling to switch off after a match, try these steps to get some rest:

1. Spend 20 minutes, at least, doing something you enjoy

If there is something you enjoy that you can do before bed, do it - especially if your team has lost. Try some nice food, go for a walk, or watch a TV show. These things that you might enjoy can help release serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) and this can help you sleep better. Cuddling your partner can increase serotonin, as can snuggling up to your pet in bed!

2. Listen to brown noise to drown out any internal thoughts 

This could be particularly useful if you have travelled to watch your team and are sharing a room with others. Brown noise - which can sound something like waves crashing - can drown out external noise in your room, as well as any internal thoughts on the match you have just watched. Read our guide to different coloured noises for more information.

3. If you need to nap during the day, don’t do it for more than 20 minutes 

If you are trying to catch up on sleep and have missed a lot due to the tournament, napping can help. But the perfect nap should last around 20 minutes. Anything longer than 30 minutes can leave you feeling groggy as your body will enter a deep sleep cycle, which you will disrupt if you wake up in the middle of it.

Football fan sleeping on sofa clutching a football.

4. Try belly breathing to calm down after a match 

Belly breathing can help calm your mind and is a simple technique that involves, you guessed it, your belly. Lie down comfortably and place a hand on your belly - the other one can be placed on your chest - and breathe in through your nose, focusing on your belly rising as you do so. Then, breathe out through your mouth and feel your belly contract. Try to do this five to ten times and repeat when needed. 

5. Or try the corpse pose 

The corpse pose is exactly what you might think. You lie down flat on your back, with your face and torso facing upwards and your palms also facing upwards. Focus on your breathing, breathing in through your nose and out through the mouth. This pose is designed to relax your body and keep the awareness solely on your breath. 

Read our guide for more breathing techniques to help you sleep, or if you're worried about your team getting through the Euros, read our guide to managing sleep anxiety.

An image of the author, Barry, Entertainment Guru Barry, Entertainment Guru Bio & articles

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