It’s only in recent years that the crucial importance of sleep has started to become recognised. Some of you may have seen the BBC documentary last week in which Michael Mosley highlighted just how important deep sleep is for proper functioning. It seems like quite a lot of his information might have come from one of the few authoritative books on the subject, which I have recently read, by Nick Littlehales, elite sports sleep coach to top premier league clubs, Team Sky cycling and Olympic medallists, imaginatively entitled ‘Sleep’.
This is a fascinating book that I recommend wholeheartedly to anyone who wants to maximise their performance, their enjoyment of life and their health and longevity. In this book he stresses the importance of the pre and post sleep period, the sanctity of the sleeping environment, the best position to sleep (on your non-dominant side).
Most importantly, he also stresses the importance of setting a regular waking time (irrespective of what time you get to bed) that you should stick to, even at weekends, to re-establish your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Since buying this book (RRP £9.99), I have implemented a lot of what he suggests, especially this latter point, and noticed that I really am not able to sleep in any more, even if I want to.
Proper deep sleep really is not an optional extra, it is essential, and should be part of our holistic approach to fitness, alongside physical training, nutrition, stress management and other recovery strategies. Ignore it and you may pay a much heavier price than you imagine in the long run, poor sleep patterns being linked to a whole host of diseases and conditions which can take years off your life.
By all means get in touch if you want to know more about how to improve your sleep.