Ditch the matchsticks. Get some sleep.

I love my sleep. I mean I really love my sleep. This isn’t even the first time I’ve blogged about it. The only problem is that I’m not very good at it.

Once, when on an expedition trip to Borneo as a wide-eyed fifteen year old, I was told off by our tour leader for falling asleep on a bus ride through a city – “You’re missing out on all the sights!”. I turned my head and went right on sleeping. We’d been in the jungle for a week, ‘sleeping’ on hideously uncomfortable canvass hammocks and hiking for miles every day. I was exhausted.

Sure, I probably missed a couple of spectacular buildings and some exotic goods being touted on street-side market stalls, but frankly I’m not one of those people who subscribes to the idea that “you can sleep when your dead”. Rather, if I’m operating in a sleep deprived state, I feel dead. I can’t concentrate. I feel unwell. I can’t function. And that just won’t do.

We all know that a lack of sleep is bad for us – at best we end up grouchy and at worst a regular lack of sleep can lead to heightened risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – so how can we make sure that we’re getting more of this precious luxury?

Our friends at Casper have sent us simple but effective tips and set us the challenge of pledging to make a change to our bedtime habits for a month to see how much of a difference it makes. Casper knows first hand that a lot goes into your sleep and your sleep routine but something as simple as heading to bed 30 mins early or even looking into a new bed, can drastically benefit your nights rest (and wellbeing)!

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For me the problem is no longer the discomfort of rainforest sleeping arrangements, but rather having a lot of thoughts buzzing around in my head, so I am pledging to put my phone down an hour before going to sleep and reading, rather than looking at a screen, before bed.

We’d love to hear any more tips you guys have for getting a good night sleep too – leave us comment below.

Good night!

An unabashed listicle: 5 Motivational Quotes from Women in Sport

A short post today, written more for my own benefit than anyone else…

I’m flagging. I’m having a bit of a wobble. Nothing major, just a bit of a wall, and as I’m sure all you runners can attest, a wall can be overcome with determination and the willingness to feel the burn. And boy is it burning. No, I’ve not run my first marathon, I’m knackered because of life in general. Masters Degrees are hard work – who knew??

So, in an effort to motivate myself, I’ve turned to our beloved world of Women in Sport for some motivation, inspiration and perspiration. Time to keep my chin up and power though. I hope they might bring a bit of light to anyone else who might be in need of it too 🙂

1. “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.” – Martina Navratilova

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Rip Van Winkle’s guide to working out: Sleep, exercise and holding off on the gin

I’m not a great sleeper. I love to sleep, I’m just not very good at it. At the weekend, I can easily sleep for 12 hours if I don’t set an alarm and as a teenager I took teenage lie-ins to whole new levels of concerning. I used to sleepwalk as a child and grind my teeth and I still toss and turn and talk, but apparently I don’t snore (thank goodness for small mercies…).

sleep

Working in the City means I find myself in stressful situations from time-to-time and, by my own confession, I am a bit of a worrier, which doesn’t help matters. But I’ve never been a great sleeper, so stress can’t be the only factor at play. The only thing I know for sure that helps with these nocturnal niggles is exercise.

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Laughter: The best medicine

I totally subscribe to the notion that exercise is a ‘miracle cure’ or, more accurately, a miracle preventative. It’s well documented and widely reported that the NHS would save millions of pounds annually if we all just got off our wobbly bottoms for a saunter more often (and if we PUT DOWN THAT NUTELLA SANDWICH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STEP AWAY FROM THE REFINED CARBS, but that’s a different story). I love the way exercise makes me feel – maybe not at the time or immediately afterwards, but within half an hour there’s a real, physical warmth, along with a sprinkling of smugness, that tells me I’ll sleep well tonight. And god knows a good night’s sleep does wonders for one’s state of mind.

One of the big draws for Girls, and Boys, that ‘do’ is the sense of wellbeing that exercise brings. Levels of ‘happy chemicals’ like serotonin rise and a sort of non-awkward post-coital glow envelopes you. Who doesn’t love feeling good? There’s a hedonist in us all, it’s just that some of us get out kicks in our trainers rather than under the sheets or through a hypodermic needle. Each to their own though, of course. Here, I will make my confession. I have another love. One that pulls my attention away from sporting endeavours by tempting me with feel-good factors that even Mr Grey’s Red Room could only fantasise about. The name of my mistress? Laughter. Continue reading