What the experts say: British cycling team adviser Nick Littlehales

Posted on 31 / 10 / 2013 by Sleep Lover

Don’t just take our word for it…Sports sleep expert Nick Littlehales is the British Cycling team’s guru when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. It’s one of the most important parts of the team’s training plan to ensure they are wide awake and raring to go on race days. He’s got a long list of top tips…here’s our top three:

1 Check your mattress, pillow and bedding is giving the right support. “Your mattress should take your body shape and weight easily – almost as if you don’t need a pillow,” says Nick. “Get someone to ­analyse you lying on the bare mattress, in a foetal position on your non-dominant side (so if you’re right handed, lie on your left side). This is the natural sleeping position. If there is a clear gap of five centimetres or more ­between your head and mattress, or you feel your head dropping on to the mattress, then it could be too firm. Head raised out of line? The mattress may be too soft.”

2 Choose bedding that’s breathable, comfortable and sleep-inducing. Nick makes up “sleep kits” for athletes with contouring, pressure sensitive mattress toppers, linen and climate control duvets and pillows from The Fine Bedding Company.

3 Think of sleep in terms of 90-minute cycles rather than hours. During each 90-minute cycle, the body goes through five stages essential to overall recovery. These include “light sleep”, “deep sleep” and “REM sleep” (when we dream).

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