A Bleacher Report examines the use of sleep monitoring and implementing proper sleep hygiene to help improve athletic performance in the National Football League (NFL).
Coaching decisions based on sleep habits? Precision monitoring of players’ sleep and how it affects their health and performance? “Sleep hygiene?”
Does sleep even make that much of a difference, assuming a player got at least a little of it in the 48 hours before kickoff?
It turns out that sleep is the next frontier of NFL performance. Sports scientists around the world are studying it. Companies are designing new products to monitor it. Sleep is becoming the elite athlete’s secret weapon, and the NFL is just starting to discover how to harness its potential.
Learning the Language of Sleep
Gary McCoy, a sports science consultant for many NFL teams over the last few years, watched a pair of receivers sweat their way through a training camp session in 2015. One receiver was a celebrated veteran, the other a speedy young up-and-comer. Both wore high-tech sensors that monitored their heart rates, body temperatures and physical stresses during the intense practice. The sensors confirmed that the stress data for each receiver was roughly equal: Practice was just as hard for both of them.