We recently spent time with Commonwealth and world champion track cyclist, Sam Webster, to find out how he's getting on with his new Sealy Posturepedic Exquisite bed. We learned about his packed training routine, his goals and ambitions, and how sleep is an integral part of his success.
What's your training regime like?
I'm a full-time athlete, so everything I do is geared towards performance. A usual training day will involve a gym session focusing on leg strength exercises (squats, leg presses and Olympic lifting) and then a track session in the afternoon involving high speed interval training.
What's your sleep routine like?
Sleep is important - it's the biggest factor in my recovery, so I’m always trying to maximise both sleep quality and hours. I've had trouble with sleep in the past, so receiving my Sealy Posturepedic Exquisite bed, eliminating blue light before bed and properly unwinding from my day have been key for me. I aim to sleep around 90-minute REM cycles, so I target seven-and-a-half or nine hours (not in-between) to get a good sleep. Waking up to my alarm part way through a REM cycle ultimately results in feeling groggy.
How important is having a good night's sleep to you? How does it affect your day-to-day life?
My experience has been nothing short of remarkable. I sought help to find the correct firmness of bed for my spinal alignment, and this has meant I haven't woken in the morning with soreness from bad sleeping posture. Plus I've got the drawers in the base of my bed which has been an extremely handy addition!
Has anything happened when you haven’t had a good night's sleep, such as feeling less alert, less recovered, or worse - a crash or injuring yourself?
Quite a while ago I had some issues with sleep, bordering on insomnia. It was one of the most unpleasant feelings not getting sleep when you so badly want it. There's also no quick fix, and you get minimal sympathy from people who haven't experienced it. I found lack of sleep was beginning to set me back, so I actively sought methods of relaxation and processes to get better sleeping habits. Since then, I've appreciated a good night's sleep and my Sealy Posturepedic Exquisite bed much more.
Why is a great rest and good night's sleep so important in sport and for your general wellbeing and mindfulness?
Without good sleep, your body isn't able to repair itself. If it can't repair itself, your body can't perform at its maximum capability, either mentally or physically. Rest offers a fantastic moment to reflect on your day, and also time to daydream about goals and ambitions. I think it's really important to unload your thoughts before trying to sleep, and I find reflecting on your ambitions promotes positive dream thoughts, too.
What are your mornings like?
I rise to an alarm around 6:30am most days, then wander out to the lounge where my dog Mushka is waiting excitedly. After a few pats, I'll turn on my coffee machine and while I wait for it to heat up, I'll eat my muesli and scroll through the Herald and Stuff websites, usually reading the articles with the most clickbait-worthy titles! Once I've had my coffee at 7:30am, I start to get ready for training and head out the door shortly afterwards.
What are you reading, listening to and watching at the moment?
At the moment I am reading my way through the Lee Child books. Listening to is a tricky one, but I've been listening to a lot of Kasabian and Blur. Tame Impala, The Beatles and The Jam are also always on a playlist.
What's your favourite quote or a motto you live by?
I've always liked Winston Churchill's, "An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty." The other one that's very straightforward for my racing, but I take into all aspects of life is, "Train for the demands of winning the event." To me, this means not letting your preparation be your downfall and giving yourself every opportunity to execute the goals you've set.
How are you planning for the 2018 Commonwealth Games?
I am very deep into my planning for the Commonwealth Games. One month prior to the Games, I have the World Championships in The Netherlands. Planning how I'll be in peak condition for both events has been very tricky. The World Championships and Commonwealth Games are my priorities. I am preparing for a rigorous season to help achieve my targets.
What are your goals for 2018 - on and off the bike?
2018 will be another fabulously busy year. As mentioned before, I have the World Championships at the start of March, the Commonwealth Games at the start of April and very soon after the Commonwealth Games, I'm heading to Japan to race on the Keirin circuit. It's a league of 2,500 Japanese riders, which only six foreign riders can be invited to race in each year. I raced there in 2017 and can’t wait to return this year.
Anything else you'd like to add?
My new Sealy Posturepedic Exquisite bed has made a massive difference to my quality of sleep. My previous bed was brand new only four years ago, but after purchase and a bit of use, I realised I had bought a bed that was too soft because it felt 'right' in-store. I completed the Sealy bed selector and tried the recommended product at a local store and after some great advice, find I sleep much better on my Exquisite bed.
Find out more about the Sealy Posturepedic Exquisite bed Sam is sleeping on here.