Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Countess of Chester Hospital and University Hospital Aintree
I used to go to bed at about 10 o’clock and sleep through until my alarm clock went off. That happened less as I got older, but then my partner was killed two years ago in a cycle accident and I’ve since struggled to sleep properly. Everything is back to normal, apart from sleep.
Yet, having treated a lot of patients with sleep apnoea I know how not getting enough sleep can affect you. It’s far more than many of us realise. Studies have looked at people who stay up all night before embarking on driving tasks – they were less alert than people who are over the drink-drive limit. Having no sleep is the equivalent of having a few beers.
Junior doctors have it tough – they are limited to working 48 hours a week, but as the hours change each week it is very difficult to get into a routine for sleep. I found that it didn't matter what time I went to bed, I always woke up at the same time each day, even if I’d only been in bed an hour. Daytime sleep is very difficult.
Nowadays I try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day regardless of whether it’s a weekend or not. I try not to nap during the day, and I don’t drink alcohol very often because that really wrecks my sleep.
I do go off to sleep very quickly. I switch the light off then start reading my Kindle – I normally manage about four pages but fortunately the “book” switches itself off.
Casper co-founder and global MD
I think we have a flawed perception of sleep. Top athletes make sure they sleep well, and rest well, to ensure they are in the best condition. But the majority of us still seem to think that less sleep is a sign of importance, influence and that you are able to withstand stress. Slowly this is changing I think, and more people are actively thinking and changing their sleep habits for the better.
There are factors that affect your sleep massively – alcohol, food and exercise are just three. Try to fall asleep after a steak and a bottle of red wine and you will feel that your body is not able to rest, or sleep as deeply, and has little chance of recovery. But if you exercise and go to bed afterwards you will be surprised the positive impact it has.
Exercising, as well as the right nutrition, in the evening does affect my sleep a lot. And there’s no doubt that being rested and having slept well definitely leads to better wellbeing.
I’ve never slept for that long. Normally I have around five hours’ sleep a night. I try to read a book before I sleep and my fiancée and I have banned electronic devices from our bedroom. You should try it, it works surprisingly well.
Chief football writer, The Telegraph
Travelling is such a massive part of my job. Football generally takes place in the evening, so that often means travelling late at night, which obviously affects sleep enormously. Last night I was at Leicester. By the time I’d finished and got back to my car, it was about 11.15pm and then the M1 was shut, so it was about 1.30am by the time I got back home to north-west London.
You can’t go straight to sleep because your brain just won’t let you. So today I’m suffering a bit because I probably didn’t get to sleep until about 2.30am.
And we journalists need our sleep. When we follow England, especially to more far-flung places, we can start our day at 4am to catch the flight and the press conference isn't until 7pm. The journalists are often frazzled by then and no one can think of a decent question.
When I first had kids I always tried to get home, so I would drive back from Champions League games, often leaving Manchester at 11.30pm or later and not getting back until 3.30 or 4 o’clock in the morning.
But a few years ago I decided I was not going to do that any more because it was not good to be driving when that tired.
When I’m not travelling sleep comes very easily. I normally read before I go to sleep, and a book not on a screen. I sleep well, unless my little boy gets into bed with me – he’s a bit of a night wanderer.
But when I’m staying in a hotel – and once I’ve spent 20 minutes taking all the pillows off the bed – then I get seven hours’ unbroken sleep and I feel like a different person.
Foreign Exchange dealer at Infinity International
I get up at about 4.45am and most mornings go to the gym on the way to work. I'm at my desk most days at 7am – we're currency brokers in the City of London and the market never sleeps. I, however, love my sleep, and try to get eight hours. The night before last I was in bed at 8.45pm trying to get that eight-hour holy grail. But it's not always that easy.
When you're working with clients and you have accounts to manage and deals that you're keeping an eye on, sometimes you get into bed and you can’t switch off. But you need that sleep to recharge yourself to do it all again.You know when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep.
I always have a shower before I go to bed. That's key for me. A nice hot shower, moisturise. That’s the modern man these days, everyone's looking after themselves.
I don’t like to eat too late either. When I do I can really feel it, especially when I go to the gym in the morning.
I also have a very expensive mattress. It cost £2,000 but you spend eight hours a night on it so you have to get a good mattress. When I stay at my girlfriend’s, her mattress is nothing compared to mine, and I notice it.
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