It was reported this week that Australia has banned its athletes from taking sleeping pills during the Olympic Season. The decision went ahead despite the fact that the team’s choice of medication is approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) chief John Coates announced the ban on Tuesday in the wake of former Olympic swimming champion Grant Hackett’s claim that he had become dependent on Stilnox, a brand of the medication zolpidem.

However Russell Mark, a champion shooter, has spoken out about the decision stating that it could cost Australia medals at London 2012. Especially as the team has such a long way to travel and could experience severe jet lag, which will no doubt, affect their performance.

It’s only natural for Olympic athletes to look for an immediate solution to their situation. But if they’re banned from taking drugs to help them sleep, then what other options are available to them?

Long-standing readers of the blog will be aware of a number of technological devices, food choices, and lifestyle changes that we’ve covered in order to promote a better night’s sleep. There is no miracle cure, it’s about knowing your body, your routine and making all the variables on any given night work in your favour. Technically, the Olympics is still a number of days away and therefore all competing athletes still have time to sort out their sleeping patterns.

So Breathing Relief have asked the hypothetical question, how can we help the Australian team get sleep-ready and relaxed?

Our blogger will, over the next week, be putting a couple of theories and tricks to the test to see how they affect her sleep. Every day there will be a post assessing the quality of sleep, the effectiveness of whatever was implemented, and whether it would be suitable for everyday use. Many of these have been covered by our blog before, but for the first time they’re getting road-tested with a chance for you to see the results!

Up first, the traditional idea of a nightcap. Watch my video blog here.

Below is my sleep graph, using Sleep as Android for the night of the 4th of July. You can see how the sleep disruption towards the end of the night is consistent with Scientists’ findings on the effects of alcohol on sleep. A sleep cycle app on your smartphone uses the inbuilt accelerometer technology to monitor your movements whilst you sleep. the theory is- the more you move, the lighter your sleep. Read more here.