The PerformaSleep team got excited that football season was back, and it had us wondering: What do professional athletes do to maintain their sleep schedule when they’re constantly crossing the country and time zones? Playing games all over at all different times must wreak havoc on their sleep. We did some research to see what tips and techniques they employ to maintain mental and physical sharpness in any zip code.
Despite the intensive training regimens and rigorous travel schedule that most professional athletes have to deal with, it was not until recently that many coaches and trainers began to implement rules and ideas around sleep for their teams.
According to sleep.org, the NHL implemented changes to the scheduling that are supposed to help players maintain performance and health with regard to sleep. These include having at least four days off per month during the season and having a minimum of a nine-hour break between a flight’s arrival at an airport and the start of the next practice while players are on the road.
The NBA worked with a sleep medicine specialist at Harvard to analyze what would be best for players, and they instituted a gameday nap suggestion (since it is hard to force people to sleep) and also emphasized the need for great sleep after games. Recovery is key.
And in the NFL, they have taken sleep so seriously that some teams have hotels set the thermostat to an optimal sleep temperature before players arrive (68 degrees) and make sure that proper blackout curtains are in place. And yes, bed checks are even still a thing for some teams. Tom Brady even recently admitted that he went to bed at 7:15 sometimes.