There are some things that Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman can do that are just never going to happen for us mortals, like winning six Olympic medals or actually befriending Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. But there is one thing that Raisman does really well that everyone can also do: sleep.
"Simone [Biles] started calling me grandma, because sleep has always been important to me," Raisman told Refinery29 at an event promoting the mattress brand Leesa this week. "I try to sleep whenever I can, because I'm one of those people who, when I'm exhausted, I overthink everything." Girl, same!
But what do gymnasts dream about when they get some shut eye? "Every once in a while, I'll wake up in the middle of the night, because I'll have a dream where my hair tie falls out or I forgot to bring a leotard, something silly," she said. Raisman might have super-human abilities, but she's also a regular human, too. "Everyone gets freaked out and has night terrors, especially if you meet a new friend or a new guy and you're like, Did I say something weird? You overplay things, but the other person does it, too," she said.
Not-so-shockingly, Raisman has a very can-do, positive attitude about anxiety around bedtime. "I try to imagine happy thoughts and me being successful, because what you think about when you go to sleep is a reflection of the next day," she said. "If you think positively, your next day you'll wake up happy."
She also has a very specific turn-down routine, involving face masks and bath robes, which she packs from home, specifically to have on the road. Using a face mask (she's into the Revision Skincare line) before bed helps her skin relax after all the sweat and makeup from the day, she said: "I can't go to sleep without [a face mask], it's like brushing my teeth."
And as the "grandma" on the team, she's taught her younger teammates her wisdom and secrets. Biles had trouble sleeping on planes during training, whereas Raisman and Gabby Douglas were pros, Raisman said. "Now that we're traveling so much, she sleeps more than she did during training — every time we're on a plane, she's passed out," Raisman said.
The close-knit women's gymnastic team apparently has a pretty active group-chat, but Raisman said that part of her sleep routine involves putting away her phone. "I'm less stressed and anxious, or I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, if I just don't have my phone on me," she said. Raisman also said her parents were guilty of texting her overnight during the Olympics — but they're also known for being her hype team.
Using social media responsibly is also important to Raisman, and she said she's trying to unplug and be in the moment to set an example for her two younger sisters. "With the younger generation, they have so much social media craziness, it's important for kids to feel like they're giving back," she said. That's what drew her to Leesa's give-back program, which donates one mattress to the homeless for every 10 sold.
"I love to give back, and I'm trying to teach my sisters how lucky we are, because many people aren't as lucky," Raisman said.