quality sleep

Sleep has a place in every health professional’s toolkit

Sports scientist Dr Jonathan Bloomfield will attend his first ER-WCPT show in Liverpool this month as part his role as Human Performance Specialist for Mammoth, the experts in comfort technologies. He explains why he believes that our understanding of sleep is still in its infancy, and that the potential for improvements across the health sector is substantial.

Jonathan Bloomfield is better placed than most to comment on the importance of sleep. A former Exercise Physiologist at the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland and Performance Consultant for England Rugby and Manchester City Football Club, he has worked with elite athletes for more than 15 years on projects focused around physical performance.

Outside of sport in the business world, Jonathan’s expertise has also helped organisations from the construction, transport and policing sectors to improve workplace performance, safety and risk management.

“Through my day-to-day work with elite sports, I regularly come into contact with strength and conditioning coaches and, of course, physiotherapists who are keen to learn more about how they can better care for their athletes. But the fundamentals of sleep and recovery are just as applicable to the people from all walks of life. Health professionals are becoming switched on to what good sleep strategies can achieve over the long term. And at the ER-WCPT show in Liverpool I am looking forward to sharing some of my own research with the audience.”

Using the latest wearable technologies, Jonathan has closely studied the management of physiological stress and fatigue with the aim of reducing injuries and aiding recovery. He says that the benefits of good sleep are profound.

“We know that prolactin, testosterone and growth hormone are released during sleep, affecting muscle mass, protein synthesis and immune system function – all of which are essential to rehabilitation, recovery and prehabilitation.

“While nutrition, exercise and physical therapies get much of the attention in this space, a good night’s sleep can impact on everything from energy levels to mood to coordination.

“Then consider broader health and societal issues. For instance, the 20% of serious car crash injuries associated with driver fatigue; or the links between poor sleep and cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, weakened immune system and Type-2 diabetes. These are the kinds of people being seen by the NHS week in and week out.”

Jonathan continues:

“These are all areas where I think health professionals and human performance specialists like myself should be collaborating closely. Advanced sleep strategies should be a part of every physiotherapist’s toolkit in order to achieve long-term positive patient outcomes.”

Jonathan is one of a number of leading experts at Mammoth who help the bio-technology business produce bed and seating products that deliver genuine, clinically proven health benefits to consumers.

He says,

“It is refreshing to work with a brand that places so much emphasis on the science. With a background in the healthcare sector they understand the medical importance of what they are doing, rather than generating fluffy marketing hype with little substance behind it.

“Alongside my own expertise, Mammoth has worked with the world’s first Professor of Sleep Science, a Doctor of Microbial BioTechnology and one of the CSP’s Chartered Physiotherapists to inform their developments.”

This work has recently brought Mammoth an NHS Innovations award for work in the field of pressure relief.

“Mammoth even drill down into aspects such as the impact of dehydration on health and wellbeing during sleep. They understand that a cool, comfortable sleep surface helps prevent dehydration and avoids problems relating to performance and tissue repair.

“As a result, Mammoth’s mattresses, pillows and cushions use a unique Medical Grade Foam™, a registered medical device recognised by both the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) and NICE (National Instituted for Health and Care Excellence) for pressure relief and temperature regulation.

Jonathan says that there is a very real need for people to make changes to the sleep environment, and particularly the sleep surface, in order to counteract the damage being done by the modern lifestyle.

“It is a fact that we no longer live in a world conducive to good sleep habits. Through early starts, getting to bed late and overindulging in screen time, we create a toxic environment for sleep.

“Most industrialised countries suffer from significant sleep problems. Nearly a third of people in the USA get less than 6 hours sleep a night; 40% of Canadians admit to suffering from insomnia more than three nights a week and 75% of people in the UK claim to wake up exhausted each day.

“Our findings suggest that sleep restriction and poor quality sleep is epidemic in the modern world. It’s for this reason that I believe making positive changes to the sleep environment and overall approach to sleep is essential.”

Dr Jonathan Bloomfield will be talking on behalf of Mammoth at the ER-WCPT show in November.