Friday, January 30, 2009

“Footballers” Getting Premier Sleep in England

U.S. athletes aren’t the only ones talking to sleep experts. Sleep is catching on across the pond too. The Telegraph reports that soccer players – “footballers” - in England’s Premier League are getting help from a “sleep coach.”

The focus isn’t on
jet lag. Instead it’s on helping players overcome everyday problems that affect their sleep. Common struggles involve insomnia, injuries and frequent trips on buses and planes.

Mattresses and pillows are designed for a player’s specific needs. This includes his height and weight. Even his injury history is taken into account.

Before an important game the sleep coach helped one team replace the mattresses in their hotel. He also made sure that players who snore weren’t too close to other teammates.

Players are using pillows with imbedded iPod docks and speakers. They’re lulled to sleep by soothing sounds or “white noise.” But instead of an iPod, one player keeps a vacuum turned on for background noise while sleeping.

The sleep coach even gets the players’ wives involved. He counsels them on colors that can make the bedroom more relaxing. (He prefers an all-white room.)

It’s unclear if all this attention is affecting players’ performance on the field - or as they say, “on the pitch.”

Manchester United has won the last two titles and has an unmatched 10 titles overall. They’re in first place again this year. They also have two of the world’s best players in Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. So United just might be the best-sleeping team in the league.

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