Forget counting sheep and putting lavender under your pillow – if you want a good night's sleep to improve your performance, then it's all about addressing your diet and getting the right mattress. In collaboration with SIMBA sleep, here is your go-to guide to get the most out of hitting the hay before you hit the gym.
Better sleep, better performance
It's not just sports stars that need quality sleep – everyone does. The benefits of sleep extends beyond performance, as it also aids recovery and prevents injury. Studies have shown that one restless night can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness, while more than five restless nights can result in stamina and cognitive ability being affected. So whether you want to excel at work, pursue your passions or have more energy for family activities – better sleep will help.
Research by Stanford University has shown that increased sleep can directly affect on-field performance. Gareth Bale, Roger Federer and LeBron James have all become advocates for sleeping 10 hours per night, as it leads to nearly a 10% increase in shot accuracy and reaction times.
Early to bed
One in five Brits spend more time relaxing on their beds than in the living room. One in seven now spend seven or more hours a week doing activities as well as sleep in their rooms. Although there is a clear pattern of us using our bedroom for modern activities, such as Skyping and Netflixing, literature still tops the poll ahead of technology – 43% of Brits cite that their beds are the best place to relax and read a book. Other classics such as planning our days – and wellbeing activities such as meditating and talking through our problems – also polled in the top 10. There are few relationships more sacred than that of a person and their bed. Over a lifetime we’ll spend 227,468 hours tucked up in bed asleep. However, the study also reveals we are increasingly spending more of our lives wide awake and ‘living’ on our faithful mattresses.
Eating for sleeping
New research has revealed that over two thirds of Brits feel sleep-deprived, and our love of spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol may hold the cause. The study by Simba Sleep revealed that one in five think spicy foods like curry will help them to get a good night’s rest. Nope! Over one in ten believe a cup of caffeinated coffee helps them to nod off, while almost half of Brits also reported that they regularly enjoy a boozy nightcap. Again, nope! Sammy Margo, sleep expert and author of The Good Sleep Guide, said: “Although many of us understand the importance of nutrition during the day, the latest research from Simba Sleep clearly shows few of us are aware that certain foods could be sabotaging our sleep... foods that are spicy, caffeinated, or high in fat and protein can play havoc with our sleep.” This onslaught of sugar and stimulants mean that the average adult manages just six hours and 28 minutes of shut-eye a night, and misses out on six hours and 10 minutes of sleep each week. Margo recommends sacking off the booze, coffee and greasy foods for bananas, almonds, honey, oats and turkey – all of which will help your brain shut off and maintain a good night's sleep.
In addition to selecting the right mattress, eating the right foods is essential in the science of getting the perfect night’s sleep. With the right approach to nutrition, lifestyle and comfort, sleep-deprived Brits can achieve a much needed long and enjoyable night’s rest.
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