Under Armour and Tom Brady Want to Help You Sleep Soundly
Under Armour wants you to get serious about your sleep.
The Baltimore-based athletic gear maker, in collaboration with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady, has debuted the company’s first-ever “athlete recovery sleepwear”—gear priced between $80 to $100 with fabric that Under Armour (UAA) claims will “promote better sleep.”
“I firmly believe that sleep and recovery are critical aspects of an effective and holistic training program,” said Brady, who leads the New England Patriots. “Proper sleep has helped me get to where I am today as an athlete and it is something that I continue to rely on every day.”
The sleepwear from Under Armour is being debuted at CES in Las Vegas, where the company also unveiled a line of “connected” shoes that have added built-in sensors to runs without a mobile device. The apparel, meanwhile, features bioceramic particles that are lined into the garments to absorb infrared wavelengths emitted by the body and reflect back as far infrared—Under Armour claims that helps the body recover faster while promoting better sleep.
UA Athlete Recovery Sleepwear already listed on the company’s website calls out some pretty hilarious features. A black $99.99 long-sleeve shirt, for example, is billed as featuring “insanely soft modal fabric for complete comfort” and has “4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction.” Aren’t most clothes meant for sleep inherently supposed to be comfortable?
But putting aside that skepticism, Under Armour is onto something here. Americans notoriously don’t get enough sleep—so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists insufficient sleep as a public health problem. The tech industry has embraced the challenge—creating tons of gadgets meant to improve our sleep. This year at CES, a smart bed debuted. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington has made a whole career pivot that focuses on touting the importance of sleep.
In covering Under Armour over the past few years, I’ve been lectured about sleep by almost every executive I interview. Athletes like pro golfer Jordan Spieth have told me that sleep monitoring is critical for their athletic regime. Brady is so serious about it that he even publicly listed his six steps to a better night’s sleep. (Some tips: stay cool, shut down devices 30 minutes before bed, and of course—wear recovery sleepwear!)
Under Armour also launched a major update to the UA Record mobile app: a sleep recovery system. It tracks sleep using the activity tracker called the UA Band, a phone, or another supported third party sleep-tracking device. A 14-day sleep score then assesses the quality of sleep and aims a user to establish more consistent patterns to improve their sleep. The UA Record also tries to coach you to sleep better to maximize your recovery and performance (again, the focus here is on athletes).
“By monitoring trends within our Connected Fitness communities, we’ve seen an uptick in athletes who are adopting a 24/7 training mentality, which led us to think about factors like sleep and recovery and how important they are to overall performance,” said Under Armour Chief Digital Officer Mike Lee.
All of this may seem ridiculous—but I’ll add my own personal anecdote. After hearing this whole sleep spiel over and over again from Under Armour employees throughout 2016, I took their recommendation seriously and went to bed early ahead of the New York City marathon this fall—the first time I ever got a full nine hours of sleep before a race. I ended up achieving a personal record.