“Being an Athlete is Not Easy”: Why Sleep is Emily Campbell’s Superpower

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Last Modified 18 July 2024   First Added 9 July 2024

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Train hard, sleep harder. That’s the mantra of Britain’s most successful weightlifter of modern times and Dreams ambassador, Emily Campbell.

With an intense training schedule ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Team GB’s Emily joins us for an exclusive interview to share how she handles her down time and prioritises her wellbeing to handle the pressure of Olympic glory.

Watch now:

The full interview with Emily Campbell

Where did your Olympic dream begin?

‘I think my earliest memory was as a kid watching the Olympics and just being an absolute awe. Though it wasn’t really until the beginning of my 20s that I was like, ‘I really want to go to the Olympics’.’

Who inspired your dreams?

‘My childhood heroes would be Denise Lewis, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Kelly Holmes. It was just so important for me to see women that look like me on the TV doing amazing things.

‘They essentially paved the way for women of colour to do what they want to do, and they made us want to reach for the stars and achieve our dreams. That’s really, really special.’

Emily Campbell Team GB weightlifter, pictured with her equipment

How important is good sleep to you?

‘I think a good sleep routine really helps with your mental health. I would say I’m like opposite ends of the spectrum. I’m really extroverted, the baddest person in the room, life and soul of the party. But then when I get home, I’m probably one of those introverted people.

‘My bedroom allows me to be that introverted person, to kick back, put my music on, chill out, read a book, wind down, and recharge that drained social battery.’

How does your bedroom reflect you?

‘What I’ve done to my bedroom to make it like me is that everything is organised; everything’s in baskets or in boxes or put away really nicely. I can’t have things out because it gets me a little bit stressed.

‘I’m obsessed with lights, so I have fairy lights all over my bedroom now. It’s really chill for me, having the lights on, I like to have big lights off and little lights on.

‘I have beautiful artwork everywhere, especially from black artists. That’s really important to me, to have that on the wall and to have that as a representation of me.’

Emily Campbell, pictured in her Dreams bedroom

What's your bedtime routine?

‘I think my environment for when I go to sleep is definitely get the fairy lights on first. I’ll either have some form of TV or music on just to wind down before I decide I’m going to go to sleep.

‘Sleeping performance is absolutely everything, especially when you are training so hard, you need your body to be able to recover.

‘I am an absolute queen of sleep, I can nap in the day for an hour comfortably and then sleep all the way through the night, go to bed at maybe 10 o’clock and then wake up at eight o’clock in the morning.’

Why is sleep so important to you?

‘It’s that wind down time. It’s just that time for you to be able to collect your thoughts and think about how you’re going to attack the next day. And I think if you don’t have certain hours to be able to do that, it can become really difficult.

‘You have to be kind to yourself, being an athlete is not easy, and one of the ways of being kind to yourself is by sleeping. So I definitely recommend it, even if you’re not an athlete, just sleep.’