Case Study: Tom Court

Tom Court

Rugby union player, Tom Court, who plays prop for London Irish and Ireland, recognises the impact sleep can have on mood, concentration, energy, training ability and recovery.

I first started playing rugby while studying at university, almost ten years ago. Leading up to that, I’d been a fairly successful shot-putter but had found myself increasingly losing enthusiasm for the sport and wanting to pursue a new challenge.

The defining moment was after I failed to gain selection for the World Student Games in 2003. I visited my doctor and as I was weighing 140kg, they recommended I lose some weight and focus my efforts on a more cardiovascular sport.

Soon after, I joined my local club at the University of Queensland and began to play rugby socially – the rest, as they say, is history and I’ve never looked back! Since that point I’ve had a fantastic career as a professional. In particular, playing for the British Lions is one of my proudest moments and I’d have to consider it my biggest achievements to date.

I enjoy my career in rugby, which I would describe as always eventful, at times surreal and often laborious.

Currently, I am enjoying playing my first season with London Irish and enjoying London life and culture with my family – spending as much time together as possible.

This coming year in particular is set to be a busy one. In addition to my ‘day job’, I am also working hard to launch my first education app.

The London Irish team is very close-knit. You need to be in rugby as it’s such a team sport and you have to work well together if you want to succeed. If asked to describe me, I think my team would say I was: unique, good-humoured, thick-skinned, passionate, loyal and determined.

Some may ask why I’d describe a career I love as laborious? Well it’s mainly to do with the amount of training involved. As you’d imagine, my teammates and I are required to train hard as well as keep a close eye on nutrition.

I think ensuring recovery is maximised is just as important as the training itself, Making it through a long rugby season in good shape isn’t easy and you have to manage the demands on your body. I’d go so far to say recovery and sleep are the MOST important considerations at this stage in my career – especially now I am 33.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Paul O'Connell, Tom Court and Stephen Ferris of Ireland celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
 Paul O’Connell, Tom Court and Stephen Ferris of Ireland celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. 

 
I’ve found in the past that a bad nights sleep can have a hugely negative impact on my mood, concentration and energy levels, training ability and recovery.

I try to aim for eight hours of sleep a night -although it’s sometimes easier said than done with two young children at home! My optimum sleep environment is a cool, totally dark room with a high quality mattress and because of my height (6ft 3); space is an important factor too!

I recently bought a Mammoth mattress having heard rave reviews about the brand from several colleagues and other professional sportspeople. Mammoth was consistently referred to as the best mattress for sportspeople. And, I have to say that since I started using my Mammoth mattress, my sleep quality and physical recovery has been amazing.

I would highly recommend Mammoth, especially to those that, like myself, exercise regularly and really feel the effects in their performance as a result of the quality of last night’s sleep.

Catch Tom playing in the Aviva Premiership for London Irish this season and find him on twitter @TomCourt1.