We're proud to introduce our newest Sleep Ambassador – Australian WNBA legend and Olympian Lauren Jackson – who shares our belief that good physical fitness, nutrition and quality sleep are at the root of any healthy lifestyle. She now joins our quest to get every Australian sleeping better by raising awareness of the importance that sleep plays in our daily lives.
Lauren Jackson is perhaps best known for her achievements on the basketball court and for being arguably Australia’s finest ever basketballer. However, behind all her success, was also someone who has long been struggling with getting a good night’s sleep.
In teaming up with us, Lauren wants to end the stigma of sleep issues for others by sharing her lived experiences of poor sleep. Her aim is to talk about them in both an empowering and vulnerable way so that more people can feel comfortable reaching out for help – just as she has.
“People don’t want to talk about their habits to help them get to sleep, whether it’s a hot chocolate, a glass of alcohol, over the counter medications, vitamins etc. Visibly having these discussions and removing any judgment or stigma may change the way people respond to sleep health awareness,” she says.
For most of us, sleep isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about sporting excellence, but for top-level athletes, sleep is a non-negotiable part of their regimes, especially when they’re travelling on the road and competing. For Lauren, that’s when getting enough sleep was the hardest, leading her toward unhealthy sleep habits.
“I would go to great lengths to have a decent night’s sleep, and these were – more often than not – not the best way to help someone sleep, nor sustainable,” she says.
Sleep is linked to sports performance in several ways. As well as being essential for restoring physical and mental energy, sleep also affects an athlete’s weight, motivation, stamina, decision-making and reaction times – all vital components in any athletic endeavour, let alone a high-paced game like basketball. None of this should be surprising as sleep is the time when the body creates the restorative human growth hormone, making it key to physical recovery after exertion and avoiding injury.
“I always felt I trained better after a good sleep, I was in a better mood and I’d have more energy, but after late nights on a basketball court, the adrenaline and all the rest, I couldn’t get the sleep I needed,” Lauren says.
Since retiring from the court, Lauren is now a working mum of two young children and argues sleep is probably more of a necessity now for her to ensure her family’s wellbeing. Whether she’s exercising, doing the school run, or at work, sleep is the thing that makes her busy life possible she says.
“It definitely impacted me as an athlete, and as a mum, it impacts me too, I don’t have the same pressures, but I need to be at my best for work and my children. A lack of sleep is not conducive to being a single mum with a lot of commitments. Since I have been working with ResMed, things have started to turn around just by changing my routine up and making some minor changes.”
While Lauren still has some work to do on herself, we remain passionate about helping her and everyone who reaches out to us to get a great night’s sleep. Join us in welcoming Lauren if you get the chance. You'll soon find her at our events and in the community helping us promote healthy sleep.
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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