Sporting success and sleep are intrinsically linked. Whether you’re in training or recovering from injury, sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing as it restores the brain and activates the healing process, rehydrating your spinal discs.
Whether you practice your sport to competition standard, or just like to take a few laps jogging round your local park, or a cheeky game of footie, you will still be more likely to perform at your best if you have taken sufficient rest
With this in mind, and in this Olympic year, the UKs largest bed manufacturer Sealy is working with a number of the UK’s biggest sports professionals including Olympian Zoe Smith, to make sure they achieve the best sleep they possibly can with a view to achieving sporting excellence.
Zoe Smith is an Olympic weightlifter and Commonwealth Champion from South East London. Having started out a gymnast, Zoe has been competing internationally for eight years. She holds the British clean and jerk record and won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, as well as bronze at the European Championship. Zoe is now training to qualify for next Summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with 2016 set to be the biggest year of her career to date.
When training, Zoe aims to get eight hours of sleep a night to make sure she is fully recovered and alert. Describing herself as a restless sleeper, Zoe often experiences problems drifting off. She often goes to bed early to ensure that when she eventually falls asleep, she still achieves her full allowance of solid sleep.
Zoe has suffered back injuries during her career, including a disc bulge in her lower back which meant she missed the European Youth Championships in 2011. The intense pain meant Zoe had to stop training and when she did go back to the gym, was only able to do gentle core exercises. It took a couple of years for Zoe to recover completely. She now does everything she can to protect her body from injury, which includes sleeping on an appropriate mattress and ensuring she gets the quality sleep needed to rehydrate her spinal discs.
World of Sport
Zoe feels that training, nutrition and sleep are the most important things when it comes to improving performance – that’s why she’s teamed up with Sealy for the World of Sport campaign. Recognising that sleep helps the body to naturally restore and repair itself, especially after an intensive session in the gym, Zoe takes her sleep seriously.
“This year is going to be one of the biggest of my career so far. I’m completely focused on qualifying to compete for my country at the Games and I’m working hard to make sure I’m at peak condition, both mentally and physically. Part of this comes down to my sleep, as well as training and nutrition, as these are the three most important things when it comes to improving performance.
“I spend the majority of my time in the gym and sleep is absolutely vital as this is when the body naturally restores and repairs itself.
“During the day, athletes are surrounded by an entire team of support staff to make sure every last thing we do is going to aid our performance, but come night time, it’s not uncommon for subpar sleep to set back the whole process. Sleeping on my new bed means my body has also got support from experts on a night time too – I can’t wait to experience the results.”
You can find our more about Zoe Smith and the other athletes that Sealy is working with at the Sealy World of Sport site