Emsworth doctor to row around the coast of Britain for British Heart Foundation

An Emsworth sleep expert is set to row around the coast of Great Britain to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Dr Sophie Bostock 40, will be part of a team of 12-rowers who will be crewing the boat on its 1,800-mile journey, which is expected to take six weeks.

Sophie said: “I expect this to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We will be rowing the boat throughout the day and night working in three-hour shifts.

“Once a week the boat will come ashore for supplies and for some crew members to swap over, but other than that we will mainly be at sea.

Dr Sophie Bostock, an Emsworth sleep expert, is set to row around the coast of Great Britain to raise money for the British Heart Foundation

“It’s going to be very cramped on the boat, and we’ll have to eat and sleep in the short windows of time we have away from the oars.

“There’s no bathroom onboard, just a bucket. It’s going to be a real test of physical and mental strength.”

Sophie was motivated to support the BHF because of the important role the charity has played in her life.

She said: “My father had a triple heart bypass in 2017. The fact that he’s still here today and able to enjoy beating his grandchildren at table tennis, in addition to continuing to work as a scientist, is in no small part down to the BHF’s research.

“The BHF also got me started on my career in science. They funded my PHD where I was investigating the impact of work stress and wellbeing on blood pressure. It was through that work that I became fascinated by the power of sleep to improve mood and health.

“Now, I spend my days educating people about sleep whether that’s companies, athletes, or the military and that would not never have happened without that early support from the BHF.”

In addition to her fundraising, Sophie will also be using the experience as an opportunity to study the impact of the unusual sleep pattern she will have to adopt during the voyage.

She said: “Cutting up sleep into small chunks is called a polyphasic sleep pattern. It’s completely alien to how our bodies normally work, but is something many shift workers do to cope with their work commitments.

“The short periods of time we’ll have to rest won’t allow for the normal cycles of sleep we need for a restorative night’s sleep. On top of that the environment will be very tough with the noise of the waves and the motion of the boat.

“Sleep plays an important role in our ability to concentrate, to remember things, and to regulate emotions – so, I think this trip will have a very interesting impact on team dynamics.”

“I will be using wearable technology to track my sleep every week and running tests to measure my mood and reaction times to see how I fare under these conditions.”

Sophie will be keeping followers updated on her progress on her Instagram page.

Sophie started rowing two years ago and has been training with the help and support of the Dolphin Rowing Club, based on Hayling Island.

She is expecting to begin the seafaring endurance test on June 13 and is aiming to raise £10,000.

William Ham, fundraising manager of the BHF, said: “We never cease to be amazed at the extraordinary lengths our dedicated supporters will go to raise funds for our work. And we are so grateful to Sophie for taking on this formidably tough challenge.

“Our lifesaving research is fuelled by the generous donations of the public, but the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that our investment in new research could fall by £50million this year.

“That’s why we need this support now, more than ever.”

To donate to Sophie’s fundraiser visit her JustGiving page.


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