Former St Kilda and North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo has defended Australian Test cricket captain Steve Smith’s revelation that he needed sleeping tablets to ease his mind during the Second Ashes Test.
Smith raised a few eyebrows yesterday when he admitted to taking a sleeping pill after the fourth day’s play in Adelaide saying that nerves about the situation his team found themselves in were playing on his mind.
Dal Santo said he took sleeping tablets after games for much of his career and that it was quite common for sportspeople to need help in getting to sleep – especially after a night match.
“The thing that would make it even more difficult in the Adelaide Test is that you’re playing later – so your mind is buzzing,” Dal Santo said on SEN Afternoons.
“I took sleeping tablets for the last 10 years (of my career) and particularly after a night game.
“I never abused it, never didn’t anything silly, but I also felt that I needed to take them as a way to go to sleep – as a circuit breaker.
“If you’re listening to someone do an interview post-game or the next day and they say, ‘I am staring at the ceiling at 3am in the morning’. You literally do, you just can’t switch off.
“It’s like you’ve been to a concert. Your laying there and you can just hear the noise and your reliving the moments of the game – the mistakes, the things that you did really well.
“I used to take sleeping tablets as a way to physically go to sleep, but I also felt that was the way that I recovered. I was able to sleep for 7-8 hours – which if I didn’t take I wouldn’t be getting – because you’ve got to get up the next morning and do your recovery down at the ocean or at the football club.”
The former All Australian said that getting a good night’s sleep was especially challenging for players who used legal stimulants – such as caffeine – prior to playing.
“A lot of players take a No-Doze before a game to stimulate their alertness and be ready to go,” he said.
“If your mixing in the adrenalin and the excitement of playing a game – it’s an amazing feeling winning any game of football, walking off the field, enjoying the victory with your mates.
“Then we all have a shower and drive home in 45 minutes, you get home at midnight, but then you’ve got to try to switch off.”
What else did Nick Dal Santo have to say? Listen below!