Chloe Madeley teamed up with Bensons for Beds, as part of a study alongside sports participants, to discover the dramatic physical performance benefits of adding just two hours of sleep. She found that after increasing her sleep from seven to nine hours, she was able to withstand three and a half times (357%) more pain and her reaction times were 15% faster.

Given that nearly half of all Brits (46%) only get six hours or less sleep every night, suggests that we are not performing at our best in our daily lives. Whether people regularly engage in sport, have a physically demanding job or just like to keep active, this new research suggests that getting a good night's sleep could help to boost physical performance levels.

The study was conducted over two weeks, challenging Chloe to sleep for seven hours a night in the first week and then take five different sports tests, measuring reaction time, strength, pain, speed and endurance. During the second week, she increased her sleep to nine hours a night and then completed the same sports test as in the previous week. During both weeks she continued with her planned intensive gym training, which rotated around a schedule of five days 'on' (training) and two days 'off' (rest). The results were collated and compared between the two weeks.

The sports tests were measured in the following way: Reaction time, how quickly participants caught a meter rule that was dropped from a height (Ruler Drop Test). Pain Threshold, how long they could keep their arm in a bucket of ice water. Speed, how fast they could sprint 20m on a running track. Strength, how many dead weight KG's they could lift. Endurance, how long it took to complete a 2km row.

In all five of the sports tests there was a marked improvement following the second week of nine hours sleep per night, just two more than the week before. The percentage increase in her results showed: Pain threshold increase (in seconds) 357%. Reaction time increase (in seconds) 15%. Strength increase (in KGs) 6%. Speed increase (in seconds) 1%. Endurance increase (in seconds) 1%.

The findings show the vital role that sleep plays in determining physical performance and suggests that anyone who is serious about improving their performance should make sleep an essential part of their training regime.

Interestingly, the additional sleep improved not only physical performance, but also the participants' subjective performance levels, with a quarter (25%) feeling more confident, one in five feeling more positive (20%) and relaxed (19%) and 15% feeling more healthy overall. This suggests that it's not just our physical performance that improves with sleep, but also our attitudes about ourselves and our health.

The sports players in the wider study reported the following top 10 changes in their fitness levels: 52% more energy, 37% more awake, 29% greater endurance levels, 25% more self-confident, 21% more competitive, 20% more positive, 19% more relaxed, 16% stronger, 15% healthier and 13% fitter.

Chloe Madeley said "It was really interesting to see the results from the sports test that I participated in with Bensons for Beds. I am so vigilant with my sleep pattern and so I really felt a difference when I had to work out with a reduced amount of sleep. I like to give every workout maximum effort and it was really frustrating not being able to meet my personal best and improve my strength and speed because I was over tired. There were dramatic differences in the results of my pain threshold, reaction time and strength levels when I completed the test after a week of only sleeping seven hours a night, compared to the week of sleeping a full nine hours a night. From this, it is clear sleep is an essential factor to leading a healthy lifestyle."

Lynda Matthews, Head of Marketing for Bensons for Beds says "Chloe and the sports players' findings from the study clearly show that getting a good night's sleep has a huge impact, not only on sporting performance, but also on the way we view our personal health. The fact that Chloe's pain threshold increased by three and a half times with just two hours extra sleep a night is incredible. At Bensons for Beds we're committed to finding ways to improve the nation's sleep, both through our products and by investing in research to better understand the impact sleep has on different areas of daily life, ensuring we can provide insights and tips to make a real difference in improving the quality of people's lives."

Dr Guy Meadows, Founder of The Sleep School and leading UK sleep expert comments "The results of this test are striking. To see such a huge improvement in pain threshold and reaction time, two essential elements of sporting performance, after increasing sleep by only two hours is remarkable. What's even more interesting is to note that almost half of UK people sleep for 25% less than the recommended seven to eight hours, so they are doing their bodies such a disservice. We all know we should get more sleep, but this study shows how much better we could be doing physically, if we prioritise a good night's sleep."

For further information on the study, and for tips and advice on how to get a better night's sleep please visit:

Watch the video with Chloe Madeley below:

An extra two hours of sleep a night can increase your daily performance

An extra two hours of sleep a night can increase your daily performance

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