WIRED | 6/14/2018 | Eric Niiler
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Granit Xhaka is a true marathon man, often running more than almost anyone else in soccer’s English Premier League for his London-based club, Arsenal. The 25-year-old midfielder covered 7.6 miles during one game last year. All that running up and down the field (not to mention headers, tackles, and kicks) means Xhaka’s body requires not only fitness, but rest and recovery. And as Xhaka suits up to represent his home country of Switzerland in its World Cup opener Sunday against mighty Brazil, he’ll need all the rest he can get.

To do that, Xhaka has become a sleep science guinea pig of sorts. Under Armour, the US-based sporting apparel company that sponsors him, has probed and prodded Xhaka to find out what makes him tick when he’s not on the field.

Basics - Course - Company - Habits - Habits

There are the basics, of course: The company has analyzed his sleep habits and waking habits right before he goes to bed. UA trainers also gave Xhaka a new, more comfortable mattress and changed the lightbulbs in his London flat to ease his journey to slumber. He’s even got special glasses that allow him to post pictures to his fans on Instagram or read up on his opponents without succumbing to the stimulation of blue light.

But they’re also trying some fishy-sounding next-gen tech, like special sleepwear and sheets with ceramic woven into the fabric. The material is supposed to stimulate blood flow and keep sleepers warmer—it supposedly absorbs heat from the body and re-emits it back as far-infrared radiation, and some small studies have shown that ceramic fabrics can help with arthritis and menstrual pain. But the connection with better sleep hasn't been proven—and at $200 a set, it's an investment fairly limited to pro athletes.

Idea - Edge - Night

The idea is to give Xhaka a competitive edge by allowing him a more restful night,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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