By Carissa Martinez
Over this past football season, researchers have looked in depth at what helps an athlete perform best.
Oklahoma State University’s article titled, “Sleeper team: How Oklahoma State is using the science of sleep to try and improve performance,” in 2017 addresses athletes sleeping schedules. The institution invested into a program called Rise Science, which provides daily sleep insights taken from an individual’s sleep data to improve their performance, behavior and reduce injury rates. Based on the data Oklahoma State collected, its injury rates for players have decreased by 70 percent and have also decreased mental errors by 50 percent.
After this research was released, many university sports programs chose to start looking into Rise Science.
“Two of our main focuses are sleep and hydration,” said football head coach Shay McClure.
McClure also said all the coaches encourage players to begin hydrating and getting on a healthy sleep schedule at least 24 hours prior to game-day.
There can be benefits to both home and away games; however, away games tend to have less distractions in comparison.
McClure said he enjoys away games because he knows his players are getting at least nine hours of rest. DSU’s football coaches enforce a 10:30 p.m. bed check during away games, making sure all lights are out by 11 p.m.
Red shirt senior quarterback Michael Sanders, a senior sociology major from Phoenix, Arizona, said away games are more to his liking because it keeps him away from distractions at home. Sanders said the team performs better as a whole when players are all well rested.
“An individual cannot win a game; it has to be a team effort,”Sanders said.
Athletic trainer Bruno Silva said another way to improve athletes’ performance and injury rate is with better nutrition. If DSU had the extra money, he would provide nutritious food for the athletes. Silva said fatigue caused by lack of sleep or food intake can leave a player prone to more injuries on the field.
Wide receiver Orlando Wallace, a junior business major from Cathedral City, California, said he averages six hours of sleep per night but tries to get more the night before a game. Before given the results of how sleep can benefit you, Wallace said he didn’t believe it decreased injury rates. More sleep could benefit for a day game, but not so much for a night game, he said.
Although a program such as Rise Science is not within the DSU athletic budget, different angles can be taken to improve the football players sleep schedule from its current state.