Today’s topic is sleep! Shona Halson is a PhD researcher and associate professor at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane, Australia and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for SleepScore Labs. Before joining the university, she was with the Australian Institute of Sport and Head of Recovery for the Australian Olympic Team for the past three games.
Shona studies sleep among elite-level athletes, and this emerging field is already yielding some pretty fascinating data – data these athletes then in turn use to improve their training, their performance and their recovery. We talk about how to achieve gains in performance and recovery by prioritizing quality sleep like the pros.
Today, we’re going to talk about sleep. I’ll be honest – for years I was guilty of sacrificing sleep to prioritize other things. I’m self-employed and dedicated to my business. When you’re self employed you feel like you’re on a knife’s edge – and if you let something slip it can cost you in ways that people that aren’t self-employed may not easily appreciate. So, in order to “get things done” you make sacrifices elsewhere and you try to balance those sacrifices with the needs of others in your life – partner, kids, friends and family. So sleep was something I felt I could do without, to a degree. It was something I saw as the antithesis of getting things done. That was simply wrong.
Sleep is emerging as the unsung hero of sport performance and recovery. We’ve heard it from elite athletes consistently in recent years. But sleep and its relationship to performance and recovery is not the exclusive domain of the Toomeys and Frasers of the world. Every athlete at every level can benefit from improving their sleep. And like nutrition, its not about quantity alone – quality is a major factor.
That’s why for today’s podcast I’m joined by an expert in sleep. Shona Halson is a PhD researcher and associate professor at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane, Australia. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for a company called SleepScore Labs – I’ll give you a rundown on who they are and how I got connected with Shona at the end of this episode. Shona studies sleep among elite-level athletes, and this emerging field is already yielding some pretty fascinating data – data these athletes then in turn use to improve their training, their performance and their recovery.
If you weren’t already examining sleep’s role in your fitness, after my discussion with Shona, I’m sure it’s a priority now – it certainly is for me. She shared some invaluable insights into the relationship sleep has with performance and recovery, its effect on your metabolism and even its relationship with diabetes and other forms of chronic disease. Clearly, taking your training seriously means you have to take your sleep seriously too. And that is a universal truth, whether you are a professional athlete like those Shona works with on a regular basis, or the average joe gym-goer looking to improve your fitness to improve your lifestyle outside of the gym.
So by now, you must be asking… How did I managed to get a sleep expert from the opposite side of the globe for the podcast? Well, I’m oddly well-connected in this space. In my day job running QB Marketing, I’ve been lucky enough to do work for one of the largest connected healthcare companies in the world, ResMed. Assuming you’ve heard of them, it may be because someone in your life suffers from sleep apnea, and ResMed is perhaps best known as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of CPAP devices for sleep disordered breathing and ventilation devices for respiratory care. They’re a company that started in Sydney, Australia and continues to operate there but their North American headquarters is in San Diego and they have a technology center in Halifax and I’m a contractor with that team.
And that’s just the setup!
A couple of years ago, ResMed, in partnership with Dr. Oz – yep, the Dr. Oz from TV – and venture capital firm called Pegasus, created a new company called SleepScore Labs. The mission was to leverage all the sleep knowledge that ResMed had acquired from years in the sleep market and bring a new device to market that would help the masses understand and improve their sleep. That’s the device, known as SleepScore Max, that we touched on in our discussion. I continue to do a little work for Sleep Score Labs, and also for ResMed, and so when I wanted to do an episode of the podcast focused on sleep, I shamelessly used my business connections to some of the smartest sleep experts in the world to see if I could bring some of that expertise to the podcast. But, I hope you’ll agree, it certainly doesn’t feel like it turned into a commercial. Anyway, I reached out to the decision makers I knew at SleepScore Labs and they in turn connected with with Shona, who had recently joined their Scientific Advisory Board and agreed to share her expertise on the podcast.
Australian Catholic University https://www.acu.edu.au
SleepScore Labs: https://sleepscore.com
Whoop Strap: https://whoop.com
Apple Watch https://www.apple.com/watch/
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