Anthony Joshua: Why alarm clock was bad for my health
Written by Simon Austin — September 21, 2018
WORLD heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says he has knocked 5am alarm calls on the head as part of a drive to protect his body.
The 28-year-old used to be woken at dawn to go running, but now wakes naturally, at about 8am. He made the change after watching a documentary on WBA lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, in which the Ukrainian was shown sleeping late before beginning his road work.
“I saw 10.34am on a clock when he was waking up and I was like, ‘What the fuck?’” Joshua said. “I rewound it to watch again - 10.34. And I’m getting up at the crack of dawn.
“In the past, you used to train, go do your work, then train after, so you had to wake up at 5am to be done at 7. Luckily we are in a position that this is our full-time job.
“It’s a bit weird because boxing is old school. When I watched a Manny Pacquiao documentary he does the same thing, Mayweather trains when he is ready, same with Lomachenko.
“I now wake up naturally at 8am. It looks lazy but you’re still getting the same amount of work done and in a better way.”
The WBA, WBO and IBF champion defends his belts against Russian Alexander Povetkin on Saturday night.
He added: “We look at stuff like sleeping, the amount of time we spend on our phones, your eyes have muscles so you have to work your eye sockets, recovery. It is about wellness and how you’re feeling.
“You can kind of predict if I tell you seven days in I’m feeling rough, by the eighth day you’re going to know to ease it off before you crash.”
There are several reasons why Joshua feels better waking up naturally rather than being woken by his alarm. We sleep in 90-minute cycles and it’s only towards the end of each one that we go into a deep sleep.
Professor Matthew Walker, a sleep expert from the University of Berkeley, says that if you're still asleep when the alarm goes off, you haven't had enough sleep. This is because during the deep sleep state, the body goes into a low-energy mode which has numerous health benefits.
“You need 90 minutes to get to deep sleep, and one cycle isn’t enough to do all the work," Walker has said. "You need four or five cycles to get all the benefit.”
Alarm clocks have also been shown to cause an explosive burst of activity in the heart, perhaps because waking suddenly meant danger to our ancestors.
“When you look at the cardiovascular consequences of alarm clocks, that’s bad enough," Walker said. “You might laugh, but if you do that every day across ten years you can only imagine the cardiovascular effect. It’s far from trivial.”
This is why the Professor actually advises an alarm call to get ready to go to sleep, rather than in order to wake up. As we've written on TGG before, the body requires melatonin to get ready for sleep and light and stress inhibit production of the hormone.
“People use alarms to wake up,” Walker said. “So why don’t we have a bedtime alarm to tell us we’ve got half an hour, that we should start cycling down?”