British Swimming has teamed up with light therapy expert, Lumie, to provide athletes on the national team a brighter and more invigorating start to each day that will enhance performance and also help them feel refreshed, energised and ready to compete.
Lumie recognises that waking up to a dark room and sudden sound of a shrieking alarm clock isn’t the best way to start each day; it plays havoc with the internal body clock, known as the circadian rhythm, and also puts people in the wrong frame of mind. As an official supplier to British Swimming, Lumie will initially offer podium level funded athletes across all disciplines of the sport (that’s swimming, diving, synchro, disability swimming, open water and water polo) light therapy treatments, such as dawn simulation. In 2010 support will be extended to athletes on development level funding.
Research shows that everyone’s sleep patterns revolve around light, and the sunrise is our natural alarm cue by which we reset our internal body clock that controls our daily sleep and wake cycle.
In the mornings, even when people’s eyes are still closed, the brain responds to light signals received from the slow rising sun, reducing the production of sleep hormones, like melatonin, and increasing levels of those that help you get up and go, like cortisol, so that we feel refreshed and ready to wake up.
Given that swimmers on the British team have to endure long and demanding training programmes, which start long before the sun has had a chance to rise, their circadian rhythms can become easily disrupted and this can have an effect on their performance, making them feel tired, sluggish and lacking in energy.
Lumie Bodyclock dawn simulators help to wake people up naturally, creating a personal sunrise at a time that suits. Swimmers simply need to choose the time they want to wake up at, and over a 30 minute period (variable on some models at the users’ option) the Bodyclock will provide a simulated sunrise, so that by the time they need to be awake they feel ready to open their eyes.
British Swimming are using Bodyclock Advanced which also has a sunset option whereby the light gradually dims down, to increase the production of melatonin so that they can feel more relaxed and ready for a sound night’s sleep.
Experts believe that using a dawn simulator like Bodyclock is a great way to keep the sleep/wake cycle on track and further research also suggests that they can boost mood, productivity and energy levels.
Katie Brazier, Sponsorship and Events Director at British Swimming, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lumie to our sponsorship family and look forward to working in partnership with them. Their innovative products will, we hope, help to provide our athletes that extra advantage.”
Jonathan Cridland, CEO of Lumie, said: “We are delighted to be involved with British Swimming and strongly believe our lights can help enhance the daily routines of athletes.
“Scientific research has shown that waking up to light has a massive impact on how we feel, so by providing Bodyclocks to the swimmers will really give them the natural and refreshing start their bodies need each day.
“From our previous work with the British Rowing team, dawn simulation proved to be really successful and by becoming an official supplier to the British Swimming team, we hope to demonstrate just how effective light therapy can be for anyone!”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS