We spoke with Dr Karl Cooke, Head of Sports Science and Sports Medicine for British Swimming, regarding sleep and how Jensen bed toppers are helping achieve improvements in individual and team performance.

How important is sleep to an athlete’s performance?
Swimmers have always gotten up early and many have suffered from ‘sleep debt’. When it becomes excessive you begin to exhibit signs of:
cognitive performance
Reduced ability to produce force and power
Reductions in endurance performance

We’ve been looking at the practical elements of controlling the sleep environment.

Can you give a specific example of sleep to an athlete’s performance?
The most common scenario is fatigue and sleepiness during the day. You may schedule eight hours sleep a night, but only end up having four because they were on their iPad or playing a video game.

The knock-on effect is:
Lower levels of performance
Increased susceptibility to illness – coughs and colds through to gastro-intestinal problems

Comfort, hygiene, familiarity, are important to anyone when it comes to sleep, but how much more so for athletes?
The world of athletes involves a significant amount of national and international travel, so comfort is critical from a performance perspective. Even levels of dust can be a factor, because athletes can be quite sensitive, and there’s quite a high proportion of asthmatics. It’s about controlling other factors and what’s practical for us to take around the world.

“Some hotels invest very little in the bedding and have different approaches to hygiene.”
“Probably the worst thing that’s happened is athletes being bitten by dust mites.”

What was your motivation and need for choosing Jensen TempSmart?
We were looking for a solution that was practical:
Temperature control and breathability are very important.
All-round high-quality product was also important.
Jensen were helpful in providing a product that could be packed and carried around.

“We take daily questionnaires from the athletes and feedback about Jensen Toppers has been very positive.”

Have you seen any improvement in performance as result of using Jensen toppers?
Yes, the measures that we use around sleep quality and sleep efficiency have definitely improved. Across our world championships team, when we’ve run training camps and used Jensen toppers, then we’ve seen improvement in sleep measures as a whole. 

A number of our athletes have changed their own bedding at home. Many of them have now had this insight and realised that sleep is important, and what they sleep on is fundamental. 

Obviously the thought behind this and the preparation you put in is exceptionally meticulous…

A lot of coaches and athletes still working in sport think that what happens in the swimming pool or on the track and field as their primary concern, but I think increasingly people are looking at all of these different areas.

So if your competition are doing it, you need to be doing it, and the determining factor might be to what extent you’ve managed to cover the bases.

The British Swimming selected Jensen TempSmart™ as the ideal, transportable bed topper to meet their needs.
Absorbing, storing or releasing surplus body heat.
Forming a buffer against overheating/perspiration and cold/shivering.

TempSmart™ has an Innergetic® Latex core.
Optimal air and moisture transportation
Latex being natural makes it hypoallergenic and hostile to mites and bugs.
Perforated and grooved ensuring optimal ventilation.

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