Health Benefits Of The Right Bed For Those Leading An Active Life
Just as athletes need to eat, train and focus more in order to achieve their goals – so they also need to sleep more.
As the world’s top rugby stars gather in the UK, it’s worth reflecting on the type of practical steps you can take to make the most out of your sports – whether you’re a pro or just someone who likes a kick-around in the park or to keep in trim and lead an active life.
Sure, you might not reach the physical peaks of Richie McCaw and the rest of Steve Hansen’s men – but focusing on how and where you sleep is a good start to enjoying a fit and healthy life.
Sleep’s restorative role
The harder you push yourself, the longer your body takes to recover – and because sleep is the time when your body works hardest to repair itself, it’s vital that you give yourself the best quality sleep to give your body the chance to perform at the top of its game.
In scientific terms, the second stage of our sleep patterns sees our heart and vascular system rest up with a reduced heart rate and a more regulated blood pressure. This then leads into the third “deep sleep” phase when blood pressure drops, breathing slows, growth hormones are released and blood flow targets the muscles and tissue in need of repair.
There’s also good evidence to show that our brains spend our sleeping hours organising and storing information meaning that all that extra training information you’ve been working on may just be a bit more understandable when you wake up the next morning.
Quality of sleep really matters
Because any sort of interruption in our sleep patterns effects our body’s ability to heal itself and regain the energy needed for the next day’s activities, it’s important to:
a) find a bed and mattress which is comfy enough to fall asleep in easily;
b) do everything possible to avoid being woken during the night;
c) create a bedroom where sleep is the focus.
Research into sleep deprivation shows it can effect concentration, physical performance and recovery time – all vital components of an athlete’s routine and good habits for anyone wanting to lead an active life.
One size doesn’t fit all
To give your body the best chance of a good, comfy, restorative night’s sleep – and to ensure that sleep isn’t broken in any way, it’s also important to match each individual with the right bed and mattress combination.
At Bedpost we always recommend you “sleep test” our mattresses to make sure they offer the right sort of support for your body – for those wanting to lead an active lifestyle this is doubly important because mattresses which are too soft may not offer the right support for your back while overly firm mattresses for side-sleepers can put stress on the neck.
It’s also very important to match the right type of pillow to your sleeping style – both for comfort and health.
Practical additions for an athlete’s bed
Those who are really keen to be on top of their game can also look for additional features in beds which are designed specifically to provide a winning edge.
Adjustable beds mean that you can raise or lower your head and feet to give maximum comfort and support to your individual requirements – and they often have a “zero gravity” setting which relieves pressure on your lower back, arms and legs.
Some beds also come with an in-built massage function which can help soothe those aching muscles after a hard day’s workout.