Sleep Number Insider and pilot Jake Chavers dips his wife Alyssa in front of a plane parked on the runway.

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How Sleep Helps This Pilot Soar (Insider Story)

· Article

How Sleep Helps This Pilot Soar (Insider Story)

Giant planes, law school, and who has the best SleepIQ score. Inside Jake and Alyssa Chavers’ life.

Growing up overlooking the Chino Airport in Southern California, Jake Chavers loved airplanes. He and his family liked to visit the nearby Planes of Fame Museum and take in airshows every year, and when Jake was in sixth grade, he wrote in his yearbook that he wanted to be a pilot. By high school, he says, he understood the effort it would take to reach his goal: “I realized that you really have to work hard and prove yourself early.” After four years at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and another year and a half of training, he was officially a pilot in the United States Air Force.


Jake flies KC-10s, giant planes (Google some photos to appreciate their size) that serve as refuelers for fighter jets. “It’s basically a flying gas station,” Jake says. “Planes come up to us in mid-air and get gas so they can elongate their flying time. We can also hold up to 75 people. It’s basically our job move full squadrons, with all their planes and all their bags and all their people and all their cargo to a new place.”

Is It What You Dreamed?

On a day-to-day basis, Jake says, being a pilot might not be the glamourous job it seems in Hollywood movies, but there are times when it fits the mold, the soaring experience a sixth-grader might dream about. “When we’re doing air refueling, the fighters will come up our wings and they’ll stay in formation position, and it’s pretty awesome,” Jake says.

Many of the missions start early in the morning and go all day—the longest flight Jake has done was sixteen hours. That makes it extra important to get a good night’s rest, Jake says: “it helps with reaction times and staying focused and staying awake.”

Is a Sleep Number Bed Worth It?

For a long time, Jake and his wife, Alyssa, struggled to find the right mattress. But some friends of theirs had a Sleep Number bed and recommended it, so Jake and Alyssa decided to check it out, and they bought their own. “I used to wake up with aches and pains, but now I don’t,” Jake says. He and Alyssa, a law student, also use the SleepIQ® app in their bed to track, and have even made a competition out of it, seeing who can get the best SleepIQ® score. “I was getting 60s at first,” Jake says, but as he adjusted his Sleep Number setting, he settled into a better rhythm. Even so, Alyssa routinely bests him, Jake admits with a laugh—she often scores in the lower 90s, while his best is 86.

For both of them, though, it’s been an excellent investment, one that helps them thrive, whether it’s in the classroom or in the cockpit. “We spend a third of our lives in bed,” Jake says, “and I definitely feel like I’m getting better quality sleep.”

If you could sleep anywhere in the world, where would it be?

There’s a place in Finland where you can sleep in a glass igloo and look up at the Northern Lights—I think that would be it. I would take my Sleep Number bed with me if I could.

What was your SleepIQ Score last night?


What is your Sleep Number setting?

Jake’s is 35 and Alyssa’s is 15.

Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal well-being and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.

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