Healthy Living

This College Football Team Is Taking Their Sleep Game To A New Level

A solid night of sleep makes for a solid day of practice.

The key to a successful summer training camp has nothing to do with the football field.

At least that's the operating principle for the University of Tennessee team. This year, each player has a sleep tracking device and a sleep coach to help him make sense of the new data.

“It’s all about investing in our players and investing in them reaching their full potential,” head coach Butch Jones said in a university video about their latest sleep initiative. “That’s all part of our sports science in having sleep coaches and sleep monitors and making sure they get the nine hours that they need. It’s about educating them on how you go to bed at night and how you fall asleep.”

Partnering with experts at Rise Science, UT Football is monitoring each of its player's sleep via an advanced mattress sensor that measures a person's heart rate, respiration and movement throughout the night. In coordination with a phone app component, the technology also tracks how long it takes players to fall asleep and their heart rates during rest, as a higher resting heart rate suggests that their bodies aren't fully recovering from a day of practice while they sleep.

Then the sleep coaches step in to analyze the data for each player, helping them set bedtimes that will maximize the quality of their shut-eye. The athletes themselves are not only engaged in this addition to their football training, but also excited by the changes they're experiencing.

I can see it benefiting me already,” tight end Ethan Wolf told UTSports.com. “I have more energy during the day. I don’t know if my reaction time is any better, but hopefully it is.”

Serious athletes aren't the only ones that stand to benefit from sleep tracking. The majority of us may not have access to such state-of-the-art technology, but even the more general phone apps can help make us aware of important information regarding our sleep patterns. And often times, the first step to making an improvement is accessing details about the problem in the first place.

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