USSA unveils new sleep center | ParkRecord.com

USSA unveils new sleep center

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s (USSA) Center of Excellence in Park City already has a state-of-the-art training center for its athletes to work with top trainers and an in-house cafeteria that serves nutritious meals to keep athletes feeling their best.

Now, athletes at the Center of Excellence will have a quiet place to take a nap with the opening of the Tempur-Pedic Sleep Center.

Luke Bodensteiner, the USSA’s Executive Vice President, Athletics, said the idea behind the sleep center is to help athletes understand the importance of sleep.

"Sleep is obviously essential — everybody does it," he said. "But we also know that some of the situations we put our athletes through compromise their sleep, whether it’s jetlag or pre-competition anxiety or things like that. We had the idea of putting this together, not so much to try to study sleep, but really to highlight it and help educate our athletes. We want to educate them on strategies to try to improve their quality of sleep and napping strategies. Really, for us, it’s an awareness and educational piece."

The educational portion of the sleep center will focus on helping athletes maximize the quality of sleep they get on any given night.

"First of all, we’re trying to highlight the fact that sleep isn’t something you can just take for granted," Bodensteiner said. "It’s part of recovery and part of preparation for the next day’s training. We’re really making sure we introduce and highlight different interventions we can do, whether it’s eye shades or supplements that may help them fall asleep faster or bed type or pillow type or room temperature."

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But, Bodensteiner added, it’s not all about education — athletes are also encouraged to nap in the new sleep center.

"Each room is designed to be a comfortable bedroom," he said. "The rooms that are here are really intended for napping during the day. We’ve got athletes who, at times, spend the whole day here and do two training sessions a day and are looking for a little recuperation time. Each room is equipped with great Tempur-Pedic beds and it’s in a quiet part of the building where we can really isolate it and bring down the lights, that kind of thing. We’ve also got individual temperature control in each of the rooms."

In addition to the physical benefits of sleep, Bodensteiner added that, in sports like skiing and snowboarding, mental awareness is critical as well.

"When you think about the training we do, there’s a lot of decision-making that has to happen," he said. "You have to be aware."

Tempur-Pedic was excited to jump in bed with the USSA on the Sleep Center project, Bodensteiner said.

"It was interesting to them that we kind of viewed sleep as a performance component for our athletes," he said. "I think most people, our team included, thought of sleep as just something you do every day. But, when you view it as part of a program and part of an athlete’s preparation and try to optimize that, that becomes a pretty interesting story for them to be a part of."