Tennessee is monitoring the sleep of its players

Tennessee football is hoping to gain an advantage by monitoring the sleeping patterns of its players.

In a story by the Associated Press, Tennessee in conjunction with Rise Science, a Chicago-based company, is monitoring players by giving them sleep goggles to block out blue light from computers and phones, and sleeping masks. It's also fitting players' sleeping areas with sensors above their mattresses and under the sheets to monitor heart rate, movement and respiration rate.

The hope is to encourage more sleep so that players perform better when they’re awake.

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“Look at any college student - the two things they struggle with are time management and sleep,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. “To be able to perform at a high level, you need your sleep, you need nine hours every day, you need to sleep in 68-degree room temperatures, all those things that we're constantly stressing with our players.”

Three former Northwestern students came up with the idea three years ago. They studied how increased sleep produced better athletic performance and started assisting various Northwestern teams. Tennessee is the first major college program to begin working with Rise Science since the company's official formation last year.

Rise Science officials cite studies showing that players sleeping over eight hours per night were 50 percent more likely to play error-free throughout an entire practice and high school athletes sleeping at least eight hours per night were 70 percent less likely to get injured. They say an extra 30-90 minutes of sleep per night can increase reaction time by 10 percent. Other studies show increased sleep leads to higher field-goal accuracy, better weight training and faster sprint times.

Allison Maurer, a Tennessee sports dietitian, told the Associated Press the school paid “upwards of $30,000” for the study. Rise Science told the AP that Tennessee received a discounted rate for being the first FBS program to essentially be a guinea pig for the analysis.

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