The Importance of Wearable Sleep Trackers in Elite Sports

CREDIT: Lukas RaichOpens in a new tab.FIA F1 Austria 2021 Nr. 11 PerezOpens in a new tab.CC BY-SA 4.0Opens in a new tab.

Why on earth would we start an article on sleep trackers with an image of a Formula 1 racing car? Surely, it is a sport that doesn’t facilitate sleeping, given cars are driven at 200mph for hours around a track?

Wrong. The Red Bull racing team, whose car features in our header image, is right at the forefront of using wearables to not only track sleep performance in their drivers but in using it to help boost performance. They partnered with OuraOpens in a new tab., which saw drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez wearing the Oura Ring to monitor their sleep and other metrics.

"Formula One is constantly evolving with new technology, and we never stop searching for extra performance that will give us an edge. We're delighted to begin this new partnership with Oura, who offers us just that," said Christian Horner, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal.

Can it work? It certainly seemed to. After signing the deal, Max Verstappen became world champion and is also the current favourite for the 2022 season in the betting odds on LadbrokesOpens in a new tab.. Perez is hot on his heels, and whilst the technology in the car certainly has a direct effect on performance, the team are hoping the same can continue to be said for the marginal personal gains.

They’re not the first sporting name to turn to Oura. Major League Baseball team Seattle Mariners announced a collaboration with the company in 2020, whilst they’re also an official partner of UFC. Other sports have also embraced the importance of good sleep patterns and wearables to monitor those patterns.

Sport Techie explainsOpens in a new tab. how all active NFL players received a Whoop 3.0 wristband as part of an agreement. That means teams can monitor their players’ sleep patterns and pick up anomalies that may affect performance. Whoop is also used to help prevent injuries, as players wear the device 24/7 through exercise, sleep and recreation, so data analysts can spot trends which may lead to injuries. It’s not a new concept, but in some sports, there is a concern that sleep alone is a serious issue.

An article by Sports NetOpens in a new tab. suggests that NHL has a serious sleep problem, suggesting pro hockey players find any sort of normal circadian rhythm a real struggle. Often, teams will travel home immediately after a game, knowing that heading up the night before means more prep the day of the game. Game day naps have become commonplace in NHL, but they’re not conducive to positive performance. Of course, the progress within sports science means it is far easier for elite athletes to be tracked, and wearable to monitor sleep will almost certainly become commonplace within hockey, as in football, racing and other sports.

Whilst Max Verstappen’s performance on the track cannot be directly attributed to a sleep tracker, it is heartening to see the importance of wearables in elite sports. That’s not just for performance on the pitch, track or court but also to ensure athletes are living the right way off it.

If you’re interested in sleep tracking, you might find our article ‘How Accurate is Samsung Health Sleep?’ helpfulOpens in a new tab..

Jaspreet Singh

I'm the Owner of Wearable Hacks. I love to write about smartwatches. On this website, I share everything that I have learned. For more information Go to the About Page

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