Updated: Jun 10, 2019
Hockey players are not always proactive before bedtime as preparation for the next game or the next day. In general, most people live by the mantra that the day starts in the morning. Or better yet, once they wake up in the morning, the day begins. Lets alter this perception and give a different interpretation that could be helpful to many players.
As night time is when most people are physically resting and letting the body relax while laying down to sleep, it doesn't necessarily mean the body is feeling the same on the inside. When the body is laying down to rest, it could be in this position for 8-10 hours. For most people, they are not consuming food during this time. So the body could go 8-10 hours while sleeping without any food consumption. At a young age, as most people deal with less stress, they are more capable of storing energy to sleep peacefully throughout the night. As they age and stress accumulates, the body can become more energy depleted after a long day. As a result, many people can have difficulty relaxing before bedtime and sleeping peacefully throughout the night. It's similar but a more intense situation for many hockey players. On a game day, they can be so depleted that it takes a lot of energy to relax after games. Therefore, preparation for the next day could start before bedtime, or better yet, give the body energy to jump start relaxation and restful sleep. It's no different than having breakfast and a morning routine to jump start morning energy.
Remember, if the body is going into fasting mode while sleeping, that can be a stressful time for the body. In general, as people age, many start sleeping less and less. When they sleep less, they wake up more tired. When they wake up more tired, it's harder for them to gather their mindset in the morning. If a hockey player is depleted after games and sleeps less, the same effect can apply as well. On a nightly basis, it could be beneficial to focus on preparation for the next day before bedtime.
In a weekend, if a team has a back to back or 3 in 3, it can be more critical to have the right pre bedtime food support and routine as preparation for night time stress. If a player has trouble relaxing and sleeping after games and they don't have preparation for this scenario, they're not sleeping anyway! Might as well make better use of their time with experimentation rather than tossing and turning at 2am while staring at their phone.
In general, if a hockey player starts their day before bedtime, they can improve their sleep function by using the right energy support before bedtime. If they find this effective and sleep function improves, then most likely they will wake up with more energy. If they repeat this new mindset consistently, the ongoing cycle of energy improvement can gradually increase over time because a new habit has been automated. Once a new habit is automated, then most likely it's instinctual, or something they just do. After games, if preparation for the next day starts before bedtime, the body can be given energy to support relaxation and restful sleep. If the habit is automated consistently, then surprising occurrences can happen over time.