From his on-field brilliance to his lively TV commentary, league legend Brad Fittler has always operated a bit differently to others. As a player, he was known for his work ethic. And now as an Origin coach, he is making his mark with sleep.
This year, Fittler joins ResMed as a Sleep Ambassador to help inspire all Australians to value sleep health as much as physical fitness. He knows how vital sleep is for a healthy lifestyle and success, and hopes to share that message with a broader audience.
"Sleep has been proven beyond doubt as the key to dealing with mental health and physical illness. As a Sleep Ambassador, it is my job to make every single person aware that they can enjoy sleep as much as I do," he says.
As a person who juggles shift work and teenage kids, he also knows how hard regular sleep hours can be for those who have busy schedules. The thing he's learnt is to not accept it as a reality but to make efforts to change it.
"I knew sleep worked for me as a player. When I was playing, I'd spend the majority of game-day trying to rest and sleep. As I got older and looked for ways of getting an edge as a coach, everything pointed towards sleep," he says.
For most people, the first thing to change is their attitude toward sleep. Although Fittler looks forward to sleeping every night, it's something he knows others have trouble with.
"If you're someone who dreads going to bed, ResMed can help," he says.
So what does 'Freddy' do himself to establish good sleep habits and a regular circadian rhythm?
"I have strict routines that I use as much as possible, but every day isn't the same, so being able to be flexible helps me a lot," he says.
This is how Fittler rolls: On a typical day, Fittler is up by 6 am and will go for a morning walk. He will also meditate to find focus for the day, something he has encouraged his Origin players to do, too.
Fittler reasons that by waking up as early as he does, he can make the most of his mornings and ensure he has enough time to take care of everything that needs to be done.
"I'm always looking for eight hours of sleep. Then outside my work commitments, the rest of my time is with family," he says.
At night, one thing Fittler consciously does is to put his phone away before his pre-bedtime ritual. And with no drinking at home, his only ever nightcap is good crossword puzzle or book.
The last piece of advice he gives is not to stress about not sleeping. He suggests with a smile that his experience as a footy player certainly helps.
"If I'm having a rough night, I console myself that I have lived through nights of little or no sleep before."
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
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