Did you know that adults need an average of 7-9 hours’ sleep every night? Yet the amount they actually get is more like 5-7. For active individuals, sleep is one of the most important training tools available. (And, just like Esquared, it doesn’t require any contracts, memberships or long-term commitments.) That’s why professional athletes usually aim for between 10 and 12 hours.

improve athletic performance

Training tips usually focus on rigorous routines and strict diets but don’t overlook the importance of rest and recovery. In fact, a study by Stanford University showed that sleep has an equally significant impact on training performance. A full night’s sleep doesn’t just set you up for the day ahead but also allows your body to regain the energy it loses from working out.

Stage 1: light sleep

Lightly sleeping easy to awake.

Stage 2: onset of sleep

Muscles relax, body temperature starts to fall, heart rate slows, breathing rate slows.

Stage 3: restorative sleep

Blood pressure decreases, circulatory system repairs and recovers, blood flow to muscles increases, growth hormones release and repair muscles, bones, internal systems.

Stage 4: rem sleep

Nervous system repairs and recovers, new memories and information are processed, energy is restored.

So, why aren’t we getting enough?

In 1942, less than 8% of the population was getting by on six hours’ of shuteye a night or less. Yet by 2017, that figure had leaped to almost 50%. Why? In short, it’s the modern world.  Lights are a major factor – street lights, house lights, neon signs… these days, the night just isn’t quite as dark anymore. Then there’s the fact that we are working harder and commuter further. Yet rather than giving up time with family or friends, we give up sleep instead. Let’s not even mention stress. Caffeine and alcohol are the enemies of sleep.

A good night’s sleep helps to boost your body’s immunity

One of the body’s most important jobs is protecting us from disease and sleep has a powerful effect on maintaining the immune system at full strength. That’s why, when we feel ill, our first instinct is to go to bed – the body is trying to sleep itself well. Cutting back on sleep even for one night can lower your resilience quite drastically.

A good night’s sleep supports weight loss

A lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to putting on weight. That’s because sleeping can regulate the hormones that affect our appetite, which explains why we can often feel hungrier on the days we haven’t slept well. A bad night’s sleep reduces levels of leptin (a hormone that makes you feel you’ve eaten enough) while simultaneously increasing levels of ghrelin (a hormone that makes you feel hungry).

A good night’s sleep enhances your wellbeing

Sleep is good for our general disposition too. A lack of sleep not only makes you feel irritable and affects your concentration, it is also strongly associated with depression and mental illness. A good night’s sleep, on the other hand, helps to rebalance the chemicals and hormones that affect your mentality and well-being. It’s now also well known that sleep affects stress levels, so make sure you give your mind and body the chance to restore themselves overnight.

Tips to sleep like a champion, from Casper

So a good night’s sleep is important for us all, not just the world’s best athletes. But what about you?  Obviously regular exercise can play a key role in enjoying a restful and rejuvenating 8 hours – but it’s also important to invest in a decent mattress that will provide the co fort and support your body needs.That’s why we’ve teamed up with award-winning Casper mattresses to offer a few tips for a better night’s sleep.

  1. Turn your phone to black and white in the evening.
  2. Try to avoid looking at your screen in the hour before bed.
  3. Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends, to maintain a consistent routine.
  4. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink.
  5. Avoid large, heavy meals at night and try to eat earlier in the evening.
  6. Cut out the snacking after 9pm and forget about the large brandy before bed.
  7. Eat fewer sugary foods and refined carbs.
  8. Try meditating to unwind and relax after a busy day.
  9. Speak to your doctor to rule out any other problems that could be getting in the way.
  10. Invest in a good mattress

We’ll even throw in a tip for free – exercise regularly! And if you think you don’t have the time, think again. Esquared is designed to help busy people make fitness fit in with their lives by booking two-hour gym sessions and one-off fitness classes at the time and place that suits them. Our free app offers a huge selection of high-quality clubs all over London, all available with no contracts and no commitments. So if you want to stay fit and sleep well… it’s no sweat.

Download the Esquared app now on the App Store or Google Play.