LAST WEEK, I TRAVELLED TO LONDON FOR A PRESS EVENT CALLED ‘SLEEP WELL WITH NEXT.’
The high street retailer had enlisted the help of Doctor Nick Littlehales (the sleep coach who helped Christiano Ronaldo to sleep well) to share some tips on the vital role that sleep plays in terms of performance and recovery.
Nick shared some fascinating tales about the work he’d done over the years with Manchester United, where even the simplest of steps, like spritzing the players’ rooms with the same fragrance to create a sense of familiarity wherever they were staying when travelling internationally, or identifying which players were night owls and which were early risers, so their manager wasn’t giving them crucial advice when their energy levels were at their lowest, made a big difference to players’ performance on the pitch.
I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t a professional football player (erm, but if you are, kudos on that!) For the rest of us, being ‘match fit’ might not pay as well (darn it), but I’m guessing we’d all like to feel a little better every day and getting plenty of good quality sleep undeniably goes a very long way towards feeling at our best.
For the in-depth version of Doctor Nick Littlehales’ advice, you may want to check out his book. In the meantime, here are just a few points from his talk that jumped out at me:
- Moving from a warm to a cool temperature will prime your body for sleep (so opening your window for a while to cool your bedroom down in the evening could pay dividends)
- Moving from light to dark also prepares the body for sleep (so switching off that harsh overhead lighting and using your ‘phones nighttime screen setting should help you wind down)
- If you’re using blackout blinds to create the optimum darkness levels for sleep, invest in a light which gradually gets brighter at the right time in the morning to help you wake up
- If you have enough space and you sleep with your partner, Doctor Nick Littlehales suggests that a super-king mattress provides the minimum amount of space for you both to sleep comfortably without disturbing each other throughout the night
- He also recommends investing in a good pillow that gives plenty of support
I’ve also been trying to bridge the gap between ‘work mode’ and ‘sleep mode’ by making time for a relaxing bath or shower before bed. This forces me away from my iPhone and tends to help ease any tightness in my neck and shoulders after a day spent at the desk. If your bathroom’s crying out for a make-over, Tadelakt, a brand interiors lovers may known for their beautiful plaster from Marrakech, has plenty of tips to help make your bathroom a place you’ll want to spend more time in!
Following Nick’s talk, Next showcased some of their best-selling mattresses, bedding, pillows, bedroom furniture, lighting and blackout blinds.
Naturally, I couldn’t resist reclining on a range of super-comfy mattresses like this one to check out the range (and I kind of suspect that if you’re tired of at least sitting down and bouncing slightly on a mattress before making your purchase, you’re tired of life.)
Happily, Next were showcasing one of their mattresses with a side to keep you cool in summer and another to keep you toasty in winter within an igloo, so I had the perfect opportunity to unleash my inner nine-year-old by hanging out in said igloo on the hottest day of the year so far. Thank you, Next!
I then sampled some 1,000 thread count bedding (which was ludicrously soft to the touch) and fell for the charms of some fancy pillows.
I left the event thinking about how being a grownup can be hard, and that anything, such as getting a good night’s sleep, that makes your days a little easier and your nights a little more enjoyable is a winner in my book.
Thanks to Catherine Stowers and Chantelle Craig at Next for a brilliant afternoon devoted to sleep. I’m blaming you both for any bedding-based purchases that follow!
Still looking for some bedtime reading? Here’s a feature I wrote about sleep and happiness.