Cristiano Ronaldo Sleeping Cristiano Ronaldo Sleeping

Sleeping Like Ronaldo – These Tricks Work (Not)

Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most successful athletes of all time, is known for his disciplined lifestyle, which reportedly includes a unique sleep regimen designed by sleep coach Nick Littlehales. Intrigued by the claims of increased energy, better concentration, and improved overall performance, I decided to put Ronaldo’s sleep routine to the test for a week. Here’s what happened:

The Plan: The sleep experiment was based on Nick Littlehales’ methods, which include:

  1. Sleeping Position:
    • Sleep in the fetal position on the weaker side of the body.
  2. Sleep Environment:
    • Use fresh bedding daily.
    • Ensure absolute darkness by covering windows with black-out materials.
    • Eliminate all non-sleep-related items from the bedroom.
  3. Sleep Cycles:
    • Follow the R90 method, dividing the day into 90-minute blocks.
    • Aim for five sleep cycles per night.
    • Maintain a fixed wake-up time and avoid screens before bed.

Day 1: Setting Up I started by overhauling my sleep environment. Fresh sheets were put on the bed, and my bedroom was cleared of any distractions. I covered the windows with blackout curtains to ensure complete darkness. Initially, it felt a bit extreme, especially the daily fresh bedding, but I was committed to following the routine precisely.

Initial Sleep Experience: The first night was awkward. Sleeping in the fetal position on my left side felt unnatural, and the complete darkness was disorienting. However, I fell asleep faster than usual without my phone’s blue light keeping me awake.

Mid-Week Adjustments: By midweek, I noticed some positive changes. I woke up feeling more refreshed, and my concentration during work seemed improved. However, the daily bedding change was cumbersome, and I started to question its necessity. To stay faithful to the experiment, I continued with the routine.

Scientific Insights: Curious about the scientific validity of these methods, I consulted Professor Jörg Lindemann, a sleep expert from the University of Ulm. He explained that while some of Littlehales’ tips are standard sleep hygiene practices, the strict adherence to 90-minute sleep cycles lacks robust scientific support. This insight made me question the more rigid aspects of the routine.

Personal Test Results: To measure the impact of this sleep regimen, I conducted two tests before and after the experiment: a concentration test and a physical performance test.

Concentration Test: Before: I completed 76 out of 196 tasks with 85% accuracy. After: I completed 96 out of 196 tasks with 86% accuracy.

Physical Performance Test: Before: I ran 10.2 km in 59 minutes and 18 seconds. After: I ran 10.2 km in 57 minutes and 55 seconds.

While the improvements were notable, they were not groundbreaking. The gains in performance could be attributed to the body’s natural adjustment to a consistent routine rather than the specific sleep methods.

Challenges Faced: The experiment was not without its challenges. The strict no-screen rule before bed was tough, as I usually unwind with some light reading on my tablet. Adapting to reading physical books by candlelight felt archaic but did help me wind down. The daily bedding changes were the most impractical part of the routine. It felt excessive and environmentally unfriendly, not to mention time-consuming.


Sleeping like Ronaldo brought some benefits, such as a more structured sleep schedule and better sleep quality. However, the more extreme elements, like daily fresh bedding, felt unnecessary. The experiment highlighted the importance of consistency in sleep routines but also showed that a balanced approach is more sustainable.

Personal Takeaway

While I won’t be adopting Ronaldo’s sleep routine in its entirety, I’ll keep some aspects, like maintaining a clean sleep environment and a consistent wake-up time. These adjustments have genuinely improved my sleep quality and daily performance. For anyone looking to improve their sleep, I recommend incorporating practical elements from this routine without going to extremes.

Checklist: What Works and What Doesn’t

Useful Tips

  1. Consistent Sleep Schedule:
    • Maintain a fixed wake-up time every day.
    • Go to bed at the same time each night.
  2. Sleep Environment:
    • Ensure complete darkness in your bedroom (use blackout curtains).
    • Keep the bedroom clean and clutter-free.
    • Minimize noise and create a quiet environment.
  3. Sleep Position:
    • Try sleeping in the fetal position on your weaker side.
  4. Pre-Bedtime Routine:
    • Avoid screens (phones, tablets, computers) at least 90 minutes before bed.
    • Engage in relaxing activities such as reading a physical book or listening to soothing music.
    • Dim the lights and use candles if necessary to create a calm atmosphere.
  5. Regular Exercise:
    • Incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine to improve sleep quality.
  6. Limit Caffeine:
    • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.

Tips That May Not Be Practical or Necessary:

  1. Daily Fresh Bedding:
    • Changing bed sheets daily is excessive and impractical for most people.
    • Aim to change bed sheets weekly or bi-weekly instead.
  2. Strict 90-Minute Sleep Cycles:
    • Following a rigid 90-minute sleep cycle schedule lacks scientific backing.
    • Focus on getting 7-9 hours of continuous sleep per night.
  3. Eliminating All Non-Sleep Items from Bedroom:
    • While a clutter-free bedroom is beneficial, it’s not necessary to remove everything unrelated to sleep.
    • Prioritize removing major distractions and creating a relaxing environment.

Optional Tips Based on Personal Preference

  1. Reading by Candlelight:
    • If you enjoy reading by candlelight, it can be a relaxing pre-sleep activity.
    • Otherwise, dimming the lights and using a warm, low-wattage lamp can also help you wind down.
  2. Midday Naps:
    • If you have the flexibility and find naps beneficial, incorporating a short nap can boost energy.
    • Ensure naps are not too long or too late in the day to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.

Final Thoughts

Adopting a sleep routine inspired by Ronaldo can bring benefits if applied with flexibility and practicality. Focus on creating a consistent, relaxing sleep environment and routine that works for you, rather than adhering strictly to all aspects of the method. Prioritize good sleep hygiene and listen to your body’s needs.

If you’ve tried any of these tips or have other sleep hacks that work for you, share your experiences in the comments below!

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