Joe Root Talks to Dreams About His Sleep
8 min read
Last Modified 19 April 2021 First Added 24 July 2016
To celebrate the release of the new M-Line range of mattresses and pillows endorsed by physiotherapists and athletes, we interviewed athletes Victoria Pendleton and Joe Root about their sleep schedule. Watch the Youtube video below to see what cricketer Joe Root had to say on the importance of sleep.
[Question] Can you tell us about your sleep routine in regards to how many hours of sleep you get as opposed to how many hours of sleep that you’d like to get?[Joe] I probably don’t sleep as much as I’d like to. Especially around cricket, when I’m playing I generally don’t sleep so well. It would be nice to get a couple more hours. I probably sleep six to seven hours if I’m lucky and then obviously, throughout the rest of the day, if there are opportunities to have a little nap or catch up on a bit of sleep then I’ll try and jump on that. Ideally a little bit more would be nice.
[Question] What is your preferred sleeping position and does it change say if you’ve got leg pain or beck pain?[Joe] Either curl up on one side like a little baby or most of the time I just sleep on my back as if I was in a coffin, which is a bit depressing, but that’s just the way I find comfortable.
[Question] Do you have any unusual bedtime habits? Any songs that you listen to, snacks that you eat before bed?[Joe] Not really. I enjoy a cup of tea or a cup of green tea before bed but apart from that it’s just off you go upstairs. When you’re tired you’re tired and nod off!
[Question] Is there anything that stops you going to sleep when you know you should? So things like watching TV or reading.[Joe] Yeah, I enjoy a good TV series. Obviously we spend a lot of time away from home and in hotel rooms and sometimes there’s not huge amounts to do, so you generally get hooked on a TV series. A lot of time spent probably watching one or two, too many episodes of whatever’s on at the time.
[Question] How has your sleep changed as you’ve developed as an athlete?[Joe] I think realising the importance of it and how it can definitely gain those little 1 percenters [sic], and it can play a big part in making sure you’re absolutely at your best. It’s not always that easy, as I said when you’re away on tour there’s jetlag to take into consideration, you travel for large journeys and large periods of time. It can be quite hard to adjust but you’ve got to just try and get on with it and get as much as you can when you can.
[Question] If you were to rank sleep with all your other performance-affecting activities, what position does it sit in?[Joe] It’d be fairly high up there. It’s something that, especially away from home if you’re going to somewhere like Australia and you’ve got games coming thick and fast as soon as you get there, you’ve got to get your body clock sorted so that you aren’t fatigued and you aren’t tired when it comes to playing. It can be very vital to making sure that you’re in sync and giving yourself the best chance to perform when you’re out there.
[Question] So what would you put as number one, above sleep?[Joe] As I said it’d be right up there. I think it’s a very important part. It’s something that I always struggle with and I’m always trying to get better at. It sounds silly; you should just be able to nod off to sleep but there’s so many different distractions. But I think diet is important as well. That would probably be up there as well, trying to make sure you get a good balanced diet consistently when you’re eating out in hotels and restaurants all the time and not being able to cook for yourself.
[Question] Did your recent back injury affect your sleep requirements? Did you need a specialist mattress?[Joe] No I just tried to get in positions which were slightly more comfortable if I felt uncomfortable. I try not to make too much of a fuss about things. I like to just try and get on with things and just make the most of what I’ve got. There were times when it was slightly uncomfortable but you just find a way to deal with it and thankfully now I’ve come through that and hopefully it doesn’t come back again so that I don’t have to worry about it.
[Question] How do your tours abroad affect your sleeping patterns?[Joe] The long journeys especially, like I said, you go up to India and past there, Australia, New Zealand, it can be quite hard to get your body clock set early on and there’s been previous tours where I’ve been all over the place in the first week or so trying to get that right. If you can get into good routines early and sort of manage that and try and get to sleep at the right times quickly then it makes things a lot easier buts it’s something that I think a lot of players struggle with, especially when they’re not used to it, you know the first time they have to come across here.
[Question] And how does jetlag affect your sleep quality and your sports performance?[Joe] It does, it’s very hard if you’re tired, it brings in fatigue and you’ve got to make sure you’re not susceptible for injury. That’s something that can really affect that so you have to make sure that you’re very aware of it in training, and when it comes to the games you want to be obviously at your peak, but there are times when you might have to just, you know, almost box clever and just make sure you’re looking after your body and not putting yourself out at injury risk.
[Question] How does your bedtime routine change during sporting events, what times do you go to bed and are there any rituals that you have before?[Joe] In competition I sleep terribly really. I try and get to bed at a reasonable time but my mind’s always on what’s out in the field or on what’s to come the next day but generally just try and sit quietly. If I really can’t sleep put something on the radio or iPod or even on the telly just to sort of make sure I’m nice and relaxed and at least resting rather than being active. Something that, again, I’m always trying to work on and try and get better at. That’s one of the challenges I suppose of playing international sport.
[Question] So would you say that your sleep is worse during those periods of competition?[Joe] Yeah, definitely.
[Question] Is that down to sort of anxiety?[Joe] A little bit. I think there’s so many different things that go through your mind leading up to, in my case, its test series or one day series, and you want to make sure you cover all bases going into the game. It’s sometimes quite hard to switch off. When you do finally get to sleep and you feel like you can actually relax, you’re awake again and off you go but that’s just something I’ve always had to deal with. I think over time it’ll ease off and I’ll gradually get better at it.
[Question] Does any part of your diet have an impact on your sleep or the quality of your sleep?[Joe] I don’t think so. I think diet’s obviously a big part of making sure that you’re fit and healthy and you can stay on the park, and you’re not overweight and things like that when it comes to playing. I like to think that that’s not a reason for lack of sleep.
[Question] What’s your go to breakfast to ensure great performance for the day?[Joe] My go to breakfast, if I’m cooking from home, it would be avocado on toast with poached eggs and smoked salmon.
[Question] If you had no sporting restrictions on what you can eat, what would be your ultimate midnight snack?[Joe] I’d like to say a tub of ice cream of some description. I can’t really think but, again, luckily, well, unfortunately, I don’t get that opportunity very much but I’m sure I’d tuck in and really enjoy myself if I got the chance.
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