“I hadn’t been sleeping well for a while and I realised that I was in need of a new mattress. I’d had my old one for far too long. I’d slept on the beds at Manchester City’s training centre, the City Football Academy, a couple of times and woken feeling refreshed and full of energy. In fact, it was so good that I decided I had to look under the sheets and find out the name of the brand – it was Mammoth.”
Karen Bardsley kicked her first football at the age of 5. Since then her footballing journey has taken her to the highest level of the sport and seen her become an integral part of both the Manchester City and England squad.
With the arrival of professional women’s football leagues, Karen was able to take up her passion as a full-time career at the age of 25. She has since gone on to represent her country more than 50 times and won a bronze medal at the 2015 Women’s World Cup with England.
Karen describes herself as a fun-loving but determined individual who is driven to improve every day. She says,
“I just want to be the best goalkeeper I can be. If I can continue to improve and do my bit for the team I’m sure we can achieve great things. At Manchester City we have big goals for this season – we’re aiming for both the Champion’s League and the FA Cup.
“At International level, there is also the European Championship on the horizon and our aim has to be to win that competition. It won’t be easy, but we are building a great England team and are quietly confident.”
The life of a professional footballer is a strict one. Karen and her teammates not only have to pay close attention to their fitness but also aspects of their health such as nutrition and, of course, sleep. Their day at Manchester City starts at 8.30am and can sometimes involve double and triple training sessions, depending on their match schedule.
“We train at a very high intensity and we need to let our bodies recover so we can go again day after day. Nutrition, stretching, ice, compression and sleep are incredibly important recovery strategies.
“I’m typically a light sleeper and it can take me a long time to get to sleep in the first place. That is one of the reasons I decided to look for a better mattress. It was important that I could make the most of my time in bed.
“Having bought a Mammoth has helped me to relax. I used to worry about getting a good night’s sleep every night but now I know that I’ll just drift off to sleep. It certainly helps that it’s quieter and closer to work but I feel much more spritely when I wake up!
“At one time, I was struggling to get 5-6 hours sleep, which left me feeling sluggish. Now I’m paying more attention to my sleep and I’ve got a better mattress I’m getting 8 hours of quality sleep most of the time.
“When you suffer from sleep deprivation everything feels slow and difficult, like it’s a real effort. Personally, it’s like I’m wading through quicksand and as a professional sportsperson I can’t afford to be feeling like that.”
Injuries are part and parcel of elite sport. Karen herself has suffered from a range of injuries throughout her career and she says that it is the one that impact on sleep that are the hardest to deal with.
“I’ve had a few knocks in my time – some more serious than others. When discomfort and pain affect my sleep it feels harder to recover and go through the process of rehab. Broken bones, in particular, are always difficult to sleep with. As a tall person with a temperamental back I’m also conscious that things like sleeping in hotel beds and travelling over long distances in cramped conditions can exacerbate those niggling pains and disrupt sleep further.
“Now I’m in a new home with a Mammoth to return to, it’s nice to get back to my own bed and get a good night’s sleep that I know will help with my recovery.”
Asked what it was that persuaded her to purchase a Mammoth, Karen says:
“I hadn’t been sleeping well for a while and I realised that I was in need of a new mattress. I’d had my old one for far too long. I’d slept on the beds at Manchester City’s training centre, the City Football Academy, a couple of times and woken feeling refreshed and full of energy. In fact, it was so good that I decided I had to look under the sheets and find out the name of the brand – it was Mammoth.
“From there, I got in touch with the marketing team at Mammoth through Twitter and they arranged for me visit Cousins in Manchester. The store manager ran me through all of the options and gave me the opportunity to try out the full range.
“I’ve just moved house and so I decided to buy two Performance 220s – a king-size one for my bed and a double for the spare room. As someone who struggles to sleep, I was excited to finally find a mattress that was so comfortable. Now anyone who sleeps in the house will be able to enjoy a great night’s rest.”
And if Karen could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would be worth losing sleep over?
“Ryan Gosling – say no more!”