Racing to Bed for Better Performance
World-class Triathletes incorporate sleep in daily training regime
Swim… bike… run… SLEEP? Yes, that’s right. World-class triathletes Gwen Jorgensen and Melissa Stockwell say that sleep is as important as their training and nutrition routines.
Jorgensen and Stockwell represent the U.S. while competing against the world’s best athletes. Both agree that sleep is integral to their athletic performance and rely on Sleep Number® beds to ensure individualized comfort.
Both have had very busy competitive seasons and will represent the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio this summer. Jorgensen, a 2-time world champion, has secured multiple World Triathlon Series wins, while Stockwell is a U.S. Veteran, mom, Paralympian and 3-time world champion. Given the pressure and the travel, you’d think they may want to skimp on sleep to get the most out of every training opportunity…but you’d be wrong.
The latest sleep science is clear that sleep optimizes performance. A study by Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory published in SLEEP, showed that Stanford University basketball players were able to improve performance by increasing the amount of sleep they got each night. After an initial two to four week period of normal sleep, players were asked to increase sleep to 10 hours each night for five to seven weeks. The additional sleep resulted in faster timed sprints, improved shooting accuracy and decreased reaction times. Additionally, with the additional sleep, subjects reported improved physical and mental wellbeing during practices and games.
“Sleep is often overlooked in training. I take my sleep very seriously when I’m preparing for a triathlon, it’s another discipline of my training,” said Jorgensen. In addition to prioritizing eight hours of shut-eye at night, Jorgensen schedules naps into her triathlon training plan to ensure her body is recovering properly. “I nap 30 minutes or less, six times a week,” she explained.
Jorgensen also loves the biometric sleep data provided SleepIQ® technology, which is integrated into her Sleep Number bed. “I am so intrigued that my bed can track my sleep; not only do I know my biometrics – like heart rate and breathing rate – it also offers tips to help me sleep better; like a personal sleep coach!” she said. “Knowing how I slept helps me listen to my body and adjust when I need to rest or push myself in training.”
Stockwell also relies on her bed to deliver the sleep she needs in order to maximize her performance in the water, on the bike and on the road. “Our Sleep Number bed lets my husband and I individualize our comfort –to set separate Sleep Number settings. It has been wonderful to adjust the comfort of my bed as my training intensifies, and we can both sleep comfortably,” said Stockwell.
As these athletes gear up for this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, they rest assured knowing that their individualized, comfortable sleep is contributing to their training routine.
Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number® beds with SleepIQ® technology inside adjust to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support. SleepIQ technology tracks how well you sleep each night, giving you personal insights into your sleep so you’ll learn how life affects your sleep and how sleep affects your life. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.