How Athletes on the Road Can Catch Some Serious Shut-Eye

There’s no question that sleep impacts everyone’s well-being. When your livelihood depends on physical performance, catching adequate shut-eye is even more important. Unfortunately, for many professional athletes, sleep is one of the most elusive parts of their training regime. Hectic travel schedules, unfamiliar hotel beds, game-day pressures, and other facets take away from an athlete’s precious recuperation time, affecting their mental and physical aptitude.

An athlete can eat all the right foods and train and practice to perfection, but without proper sleep, their body and brain will struggle. Reaction times get slower, exhaustion sets in more quickly, and accuracy decreases. In a Stanford study, male basketball players who extended their sleep to 10 hours a night were able to shoot with 9% greater accuracy and run faster on the court. This study also showed that athletes require more sleep than the average person to be on top of their game. But it’s not just the quantity of sleep that sets athletes up for success; the quality of sleep makes a huge difference, too. No tossing and turning—just deep, uninterrupted slumber is the objective.

Furthermore, even though quality sleep is such an important factor for athletes, many still struggle to get it on a consistent basis. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50-78% of elite athletes report experiencing routine sleep disturbance. So how can time-strapped, travel-weary professional athletes achieve the right quality and quantity of rest?

For many, like professional basketball player Clay Guillozet, napping helps. As a member of the Finnish Oulun Basketball team, long days and nights on the road cut into his regular sleep patterns. “It’s impossible to get the sufficient sleep I need without catching a good nap while on the train, bus, or airplane,” he says. Achieving the “good” part of the nap had always been the challenge for Clay. “Surrounded by my teammates and other travelers, I was constantly being woken up by something. The catch-up sleep I tried to get through a nap was never solid.”

Clay’s performance on the court reflected his sleeping struggles. “I can feel it in my body when I haven’t gotten enough rest. I’m less alert, more sluggish—all things that affect my level of play.” Recognizing a direct correlation between interruptions during naps and his athletic performance, Clay tried out a pair of QuietOn 3 earbuds. Featuring active noise canceling technology and comfortable to wear throughout the night, the earbuds block out the low-frequency noises that keep Clay awake.

“They completely drown out the chaotic world around me, create a calming effect, and let me sleep solidly for hours,” he says. “The difference in how I feel, how I perform is very noticeable,” he says. “I wake up faster, more energized and with a clearer mind. My body—the tool I rely on to do my job—feels strong and ready to perform.”

For professional athletes like Clay, the benefits of a good night’s sleep extend way beyond game day. It also boosts their immunity, making them less susceptible to illness and injury throughout the sports season. Rather than spending time off the court or field to recover, they can continue to excel in their athletic careers.