Ahead of the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford MBE explains how adults can replicate a child’s bedtime routine and why sleep matters.
Greg’s bedtime routine includes at least 45 minutes of ‘no screen time’, a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, reading a book, using lavender pillow spray and getting the bedroom set up two hours before bed.
The insight comes after research revealed 27 per cent of UK adults have no night-time routine at all – and the average person gets just five hours of quality shut-eye a night.
The study was commissioned by Dreams, the Official Sleep Partner to Team GB and ParalympicsGB.
Greg Rutherford said: “As an athlete, sleep is up there with being one of the most important elements in influencing our performance, whether in training or just before a competition. But as we can see from the research, many adults are struggling with a good routine and they aren’t quite nailing a good night’s sleep – which isn’t good.
“Sleep is our superpower! Having a bedtime routine is an essential part of my evening – I call it my ‘reverse warm up’ and it follows a similar structure to my kids’ routines.”The research found Brits spend a total of just 12 minutes on their sleep routine a night – with preparation consisting of brushing their teeth, getting into their pyjamas, and washing their face.
Just over a third sit reading a book as part of their evening ritual, and one in 10 are winding down with some stretches or breathing exercises.
However, some adults go the extra mile to get a good night’s sleep – including counting sheep, clicking their body joints, doing 100 press-ups and checking the bed for spiders.
More than a quarter follow the exact same routine every evening, in comparison to 38 per cent of parents who said their children, age newborn to six, do the same.
And more than a fifth agree their youngsters never have problems when it comes to drifting off to dreamland.
It also emerges that 63 per cent agree bedtime rituals can have a positive impact on their sleep.
In fact, eight in 10 said a good night’s sleep can improve their productivity the following day, estimating to feel 50 per cent more focused the morning after a quality kip.
As many as three in four adults say poor sleeping habits can negatively affect both their mental and physical health.
With people reporting that poor sleep can affect their ability to concentrate, can make them more forgetful and even impact their appetite – resulting in cravings for sugary snacks.
Yet, nearly a quarter of adults reckon it’s been over a week since they last woke up feeling well-rested. And more than half (55 per cent) admit they don’t get enough good quality sleep.
The research also reveals that in the lead up to their bedtime routine, adults have 23 minutes of screen time before hitting the hay, according to the OnePoll data.
In response to the findings, Rutherford shares why sleep is his superpower, explaining his ‘reverse warm up’ including all the things he does to ‘warm down’ for bedtime, to have the best quality sleep possible and to help the nation sleep better.
Greg also chats with fellow winter sport athletes and Dreams ambassadors, including Katie Ormerod, Greg’s bobsleigh teammate Lamin Deen and Paralympic GB medallist Millie Knight to help the nation sleep better and find out why sleep is their hidden secret to success.
Meric Pekcan-Butcher, marketing communications manager at Dreams, added: “It’s clear to see that our busy lifestyles have an adverse impact on our sleeping routine, even more so for parents with children.
“We want to inspire the nation and help everyone to get a good night’s sleep. That’s why we’re delighted to partner with Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford and the amazing Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes to share their exclusive insights and tips on their ‘warm down’ routines.”
TOP 15 THINGS BRITS DO AS PART OF THEIR SLEEPING ROUTINE:
1. Brush teeth
2. Change into pyjamas
3. Wash face
4. Take off glasses
5. Set an alarm
6. Read a book
7. Start routine at the same time every night
8. Take makeup off
9. Prep bedroom
11. Have a bath or shower
12. Listen to music or a podcast
13. Watch videos on phone
14. Write a list for the next day
15. Do stretches
GREG RUTHERFORD’S TOP TIPS TO A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
1. 45 minutes no screen time: “I do this as it’s easy to get distracted by checking emails or texts and then your brain starts whirring before sleep”
2. A warm bath: “This helps me relax my body, especially if I’ve been working out and need to soothe my muscles”
3. Listening to relaxing music: “If I know I might not be able to switch off easily, I try to listen to some relaxing music until I drift off”
4. Reading a book: “This helps me unwind but I’ve got a stack next to my bed which I’m yet to finish!”
5. Using lavender pillow spray: “I use this on my kid’s pillows too because they like it and we can take it with us on trips – it reminds them of home”
6. Organising my bedroom: “I like to get everything sorted a couple of hours before bed – so I’m not trying to find things and accidentally perking myself up in the process”