Since November, each member of the team has had use of sleep/wake light Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 to help them get up in the dark for early morning training. The sunset feature prepares you for sleep while a 30-minute sunrise wakes you gently. The light triggers the reduction of sleep hormones like melatonin and the production of get up and go ones like cortisol. In January, new bright light Lumie Vitamin L was then introduced to the boat house for training with each rower having one light positioned next to their rowing machine. The bright light emits 2,500 lux at about 50 cm which is stimulating enough to have a positive impact on performance.
Research in sports science* has shown that light therapy boosts mood, energy and productivity leading to marginal gains for athletes. Back in 2016, the GB Olympic swim team reported improvements in both mood and energy after using Lumie Zest in their training protocol. It then helped them recover from jet lag after their arrival in Rio.
The Cancer Research UK Boat Race takes place on the eve of the Spring clock change when the clocks go forwards by one hour. You can use a sleep/wake light like Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 to help you adjust to the change.
While it’s tempting to hit the snooze button on Sunday, that only further disrupts your body clock making the early start on Monday even harder. Instead, the trick is to advance your body clock back by an hour in the run up to clock change. This plan is based on a typical routine of bedtime at 11pm and wake-up at 7am – simply adjust to your own sleep pattern:
Saturday am – get up about half an hour earlier than usual (6.30am).
Saturday night – go to bed about 10.30 pm. The earlier than normal start should mean that you are extra tired and able to sleep earlier than usual. Remember to put your clock forward by an hour!
Sunday am – wake up at 6am (BST 7am).
*References (more available on request):
Int J Sports Med. 2015 Feb;36(2):101-6