Paralympian Jessica Long on Why She’s a ‘Bit of a Diva’ at Bedtime

In our Sleeping With… sequence, we ask folks from totally different profession paths, backgrounds, and phases of life how they make sleep magic occur.

Jessica Lengthy—the second-most adorned Paralympian in United States historical past—has a expertise for being instantly relatable. Whether or not she’s doing TikTok challenges or joking in regards to the individuals who name her “inspiring,” Lengthy exudes the heat of your favourite exercise class teacher who simply so occurs to be a record-setting swimmer and has skilled alongside Michael Phelps.

The 29-year-old, a bilateral below-knee amputee who gained her first Paralympic gold medal at 12, is dedicated to altering the narrative that folks with disabilities are inspiring for grabbing a latte. Although she has a lot of endurance and compassion for individuals who have questions (on TikTok and IRL), she does get pissed off by people who find themselves impressed by her existence. “That shouldn’t be inspiring,” Lengthy tells SELF. “However I like being an inspiration for my accomplishments.”

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Given the magnitude of these accomplishments, Lengthy granted herself a coaching reprieve when she married her boyfriend of 4 years, Lucas Winters, in October 2019. Lengthy gushes about how excited she is to have her husband’s help throughout this chapter of her profession, “however I didn’t need swimming to take over,” she says. “My first precedence was the marriage.”

The couple married three weeks after the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships (the place Lengthy medaled in a number of occasions) and spent two weeks in December honeymooning in South Africa. “By the point we entered January 2020, I used to be enjoying catch-up with my coaching,” Lengthy explains. However she doesn’t have any regrets. “I used to be like, I’m going to get pleasure from this time of my life. Hopefully, you solely get married as soon as.”

Lengthy was simply discovering her groove when the Paralympic Video games have been postponed in March 2020. “I needed to grieve,” she remembers. “I painted our whole condominium. However I keep in mind considering, I’ve a option to lose all this endurance that I simply constructed up prior to now three months. I used to be nonetheless struggling, however I felt like I might both press on or let the negativity be poisonous and heavy.”

So Lengthy received artistic. As for many people, her quarantine train included YouTube movies. “I used to be operating across the sofa. I went exterior quite a bit,” she says. And some months later (“I used to be out of the water for precisely 75 days”), Lengthy was again to a extra conventional swim coaching routine in fairly fine condition, she says, noting that even she was somewhat shocked.

Because the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics strategy, Lengthy is savoring the coaching and even the nerves. Beneath, she talks to SELF about her bedtime schedule, her favourite merchandise, and the way she’ll deal with sleeping through the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic video games.

I sleep rather well, however I’m positively somewhat little bit of a diva.

I’ll complain, like, “I’m freezing, or my shoulders damage.” And I’ve to lie a sure means, however I sleep rather well. I actually like to sleep. I believe that’s an amputee factor as a result of I’m exhausted all through the day. My legs damage quite a bit through the day, and I solely have a specific amount of power to present.

Folks typically drain me—I’m positively an introvert. So I like my bedtime routine as a result of it’s me time.

Bedtime is really certainly one of my favourite instances. That’s once I recharge, understanding that I’m going to replenish my pores and skin and my physique. I finish nearly each night time with an Epsom salt tub. I like Epsom salts. Dr. Teal’s Lavender Epsom Salt is my favourite. It’s excellent for serving to me prepare for mattress.

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