Golden State Warriors Star Andre Iguodala on Sleep, Screen-Time and Peak Performance

The NBA star spills his well-being secrets — on and off the court

For the second installment of The Thrive Global Podcast in partnership with iHeartRadio, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington sits down with Golden State Warriors star Andre Iguodala. The 33-year-old shooting guard and small forward is a major part of a team on a hot streak — the Warriors currently lead the NBA conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs 3–0. Their next game is Monday night.

Iguodala carved out some time to chat with Arianna about the specific lifestyle changes that have helped him dramatically up his game. Iguodala, who is an investor in Thrive Global, (and the tallest member of the company’s board) is a big believer in the connection between well-being and performance after seeing the impact it’s had on his own life. Sleep is now one of his top priorities — but it took him a while to understand just how critical it is to his performance. “I was going to bed really late, and during the daytime I was taking these really long naps,” Iguodala says.

So he decided to see a sleep therapist, who gave him a crash course in sleep 101. He realized that you have to get the details right to get the best rest: Everything from “temperature in the bedroom, the types of sheets you have, types of food you eat — to when you shower before bed,” he said. Once he changed his routine and got better sleep, he started seeing the results both on and off the court. For the former, his points per minute went up 29 percent, his free throw percentage went up 8.9 percent, and his three-point percentage 9.2 percent.

And he’s brought this discipline to the rest of the team.

“I think our team is ahead of the curve as far as making sure that the players are in the most comfortable situation whether we are home or away,” he says. “From food to how we’re sleeping, because sometimes we’ll be in a city too late after a game and instead of flying back, we’ll stay that night so we can get a proper night’s rest. Then we’ll leave the next morning. Our team does a really good job.”

The 2012 NBA All-Star also notes how important it is to take a break from technology. He credits his wife for initiating scheduled reading time as a family. “It gives you a chance to sit down and you can turn your mind off to the triggers that just draw you in and may not be productive for you,” Iguodala explains. “Sometimes you catch yourself on social media for 20 or 30 minutes and when you’re done, you just realized you didn’t see anything and it’s like, where did the last 30 minutes go?”

His screen-time habits are another part of his disciplined sleep routine routine. Before going to sleep, Iguodala turns his phone on airplane mode.

“My phone doesn’t disturb me at all anymore.”

When Arianna pushed him on whether he’s ever tempted to look — even in the middle of the night — Iguodala said, “No, not at all. It’s interesting. It’s almost like giving up certain foods. I’ve given up certain foods, and I’m never tempted to go back and eat it. Same thing when I wake up, if I wake up in the middle of the night, which is pretty rare now, I don’t even touch the phone.”

Iguodala’s enthusiasm for his healthier lifestyle has also helped his teammates, coaches and other players around the league. “Health is something that you have to take head on — and you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.” The 2015 Finals MVP is proof that those changes are worth it.

Download the podcast here to learn how you can thrive like Andre, and be sure to stay tuned for more episodes of The Thrive Global Podcast, featuring business mogul Mark Cuban, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.