At the 2012 Olympics, Japan won 38 medals. It was an astounding 50% increase from the country’s performance 4 years earlier in Beijing. Kei Nishikori has risen as high as #11 on the ATP World Rankings and has defeated the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Jo-Wilfred Tsongas. Yuzuru Hanyu won Sochi gold in men’s figure skating, making history. Mao Asada won the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and is a leading contender for the gold in Sochi. But the secret of success of Japanese athletes has fallen into the hands of the Americans.
And the results are clear. Charlie White and Meryl Davis’ win of both the short and long programs along with Gracie Gold’s second place long program helped the US win bronze in the team figure skating competition. More successes have been enjoyed by the American team.
The secret weapon is a good night’s sleep. But not just any sleep. It’s a sleep provided by the triple-woven resin fibers of the airweave mattress pad. I talked to 2010 US Open Champion Paula Creamer as well as CEO Motokuni Takaoka about airweave and why sleep is essential to superlative performance on the playing field.
Why is sleep important to athletes?
Paula Creamer: Sleep is not looked upon as much. People look at your diet, your hydration, your nutrition. As an athlete, sleep is the most important thing. That’s how our bodies recover. That’s how our brains are able to make the decisions that we do…Our bodies are our jobs. We all need a good night’s sleep. We fuel our bodies with the best food, exercise. We learn so much on how to take care of ourselves, and this is part of my equipment. I travel all over-30 weeks a year. Half my time I’m sleeping on an airplane seat. You have to have your rest.
Is better sleep imperative to superlative performance in the daytime?
Motokuni Takaoka: Research conducted in collaboration with Professor Seiji Nishino, the Head of Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Stanford University’s School of Medicine has revealed that sleeping on ahighly-resilient bedding topper such as the airweave topper produces better quality sleep compared to a “low rebound mattress.” A highly resilient material also allows you to turn over more easily and maintain deep sleep. (Usually, most of the people turn over 20-30 times while sleeping, if you can’t turn over easily, it causes you wake up in the middle of sleep)
Would good sleep matter to the athletes competing in the Olympics?
Motokuni Takaoka: No one understands the importance of quality sleep more than Olympic athletes who are competing at a level where the difference between a gold and silver medal can be 1 point, .1 second, or one slip on the ice.
Wouldn’t the Japanese Olympic Committee feel you’re giving away a secret weapon to other athletes?
Motokuni Takaoka: Since our founding in 2007, we’ve been passionate about supporting our athletes in Japan, providing them with toppers to help them get the best possible sleep to ensure they can perform to the best of their ability. From the beginning of the company, we supplied to the athletes, but we also supplied to the doctors. We have decided to supply airweave to the US Olympic team and are supplying airweave to 1000 athletes out of the 4000 competing in Sochi. It is very difficult in the initial stages to get sleeping data. By supplying airweave to athletes, we can get more data for this research.
With our recent launch in the United States this past January, it was important for us to extend that support to the American athletes competing in the Sochi Games. We’re honored to be part of their Olympic journey, along with the other athletes we are supporting at the Games this February.