why i sleep
As a former professional baseball player turned college football player in the early 2000’s the grind was real. Low fat diets was the rage and there was a common mantra in the athlete community- “you can sleep when you’re retired”. Ultimately, with the new knowledge that we all are made aware of, the truth behind that mantra is closer to “a lack of sleep will lead to an early retirement”.
Before the era of recovery, in 2007, I was a high school draft pick of the Cleveland Indians and began my pro career at 18. I was locked in and willing to do anything it took to make it to the big leagues as quickly as possible. One advantage that I thought I would take over the competition was waking up earlier than everyone else, resulting in getting roughly 5 hours of sleep per night. Over the course of a 120 game season, my body would break down and I would be so lethargic at the end of the year and my performance would suffer. Fast forward several years later and my right arm deteriorating past the point of return, I was out of baseball and I was on to going to college to play football.
It was my third year at the University of California Berkeley where I learned the importance of sleep, not from the football team, but from psychology class. During the time, UC Berkeley was trailblazing the study of recovery for both athletes and minds and we took part in experiments on sleeping before tests and staying up to study. At the same time, a revolutionary article came out that explained Lebron James getting 10+ hours of sleep every night. It became the perfect storm for me as I was trying to graduate in three years total from the business school at Cal and play the physically demanding sport of football at a high level. No matter the test, or event the next day, I committed to spending 8 hours in my bed at a minimum and it changed my life. My schedule was insane but I never felt tired. I performed better at both football and in the classroom and I never looked back.
Today, the importance of sleep is even more prominent in the active community with wearables tracking every minute of sleep and specifically for myself. While I don’t perform at the level I did physically anymore, I have injuries that need an even bigger emphasis on sleep and recovery than ever before. My go-to is getting in my Rhone Every Day Essentials Boxers and Tee so that I feel the soft comfort and breath ability while I sleep and throw on my Oura Ring. For me, the Oura Ring has totally gamified my sleep. Every night I’m cognizant of getting a good night’s rest and checking my scores in the morning. It also helps me offset those weekends where you have a few more cocktails than you expected and see how embarrassing your sleep scores are as a result by taking a little extra time to get to bed on Sunday, Monday, and sometimes Tuesday.
In addition to wearing my Every Day Essentials to keep cool, another important one for me is the Chili Pad sleep system that goes over my mattress and under my sheets that runs cool water through the mat giving me a perfect 67 degrees for optimal sleeping without waking up in a sweat. This has helped sleeping through the night tremendously.
This month I am shining a light on the importance of sleep. I couldn’t recommend anything more than taking a deeper look at your sleep for an incredible boost in your productivity, athletic performance, and healing from injuries. You won’t regret it!