As the evidence pours in and the subject of sleep and health/perfor- mance makes the covers of maga- zines like Scientific American and Newsweek, the understanding of how poor sleep and/or sleep deprivation is stabbing us in the back becomes ever more clear. For a triathlete who trains seven or more hours per week on top of
a challenging job, a headache-swirling com- mute, a growing family that you want to be present for, and whatever else is swamping a schedule, lost sleep can accelerate the aging process and degrade performance. Yet it’s there, in the form of critical disruption of the essential metabolic and hormonal regulation that is supposed to take place when you shutdown for a night of sleep.
Bryant Looper gets this and it’s why he believes the new ReST Performance Bed wil resonate with triathletes. Indeed, Looper’s story of integrating his work and his passion for tri- athlon is remarkable if not extraordinary. After he left the U.S. Marine Corps to go to college, he sold mattresses to help pay his way through
college. Turns out he was good at selling beds and swiftly became the National Training Ex- ecutive for Temper-Pedic. “My claim to fame,” he says with a laugh, “was selling beds through the QVC Channel.” In an hour’s time, he could sell a million dollars worth of mattresses.
His QVC guest-hosting fame came on the heels of his taking up long-distance triathlons. Inspired by the transformation his brother-in- law made in racing Ironman Louisville (“He went from a normal looking guy to looking like Clark Kent”), Looper wanted to regain the fit- ness he had as a Marine but had lost in the soft fold of civilian life. “I was back to being pretty fit when I was jumping up and down on beds for QVC.”
The ReST bed sensors counter changes in sleeping position to optimize spinal alignment and circulation.
The intermix of his business passion and tri- athlon came two years ago, when Rob Golden, a pioneer in health-related internet tech com- panies, introduced Looper to a new piece of engineering for mattresses—a sensor that could be used to gage pressure and respond with changes in softness to the position of the per- son on the bed. The idea was timely—with sleep scientists and new research painting an ever darker picture of what happens to metabolic and hormonal regulation when a human being suffers poor or lost sleep, a “smart” mattress that could enable and support better circulation during sleep could be a no-brainer for athletes of all types.
Tempur-Pedic passed on the idea, Looper says, so he jumped at the chance to be apart of a start-up with Golden. After soft-launching in 2016, with appearances at seven Ironman expos, the ReST Performance mattress will be officially launched this year.
Through the lens of athletic performance and recovery, Looper explains the technol- ogy. Sleep is a phase where a great deal of recovery from training takes place. Ideally, hormones like cortisol lay low and natural hu- man growth hormone and testosterone assist in anabolic rebuilding processes. Nutrients are worked into tissues and waste products moved out. Key aspects of particular impor- tance to a triathlete in training are spinal alignment and circulation.
The ReST bed, Looper says, has been designed to automatically counter changes in sleep position. Spinal alignment, positions and position changes can be instantly responded to. The bed—through five different zones: the head, the shoulders, the lumbar, the hips and the legs—responds to pressure hot spots and adjusts the softness accordingly. Say you’re sleeping on your side and really smashing your shoulder into the mattress. Looper says if the mattress is firm, it will restrict blood and oxygen flow that ultimately affects whole body recovery. But the ReST bed detects this hot spot and softens the zone, allowing for better circulation. Another benefit of this sense-and- respond mattress tech is that it enables better REM sleep.
You can also customize the ReST mattress to your recovery needs. It’s Saturday night and you spent six hours of the day on the saddle for a long bike ride. Your legs and lower back are trashed. Looper says you can customize the softness programming to elicit better blood flow in those areas.
Also, it can be updated. “The ReST bed is like a Tesla,” Looper says, explaining that a Tesla is half-car and half-computer. So when upgraded software comes out, you don’t need to buy a new car, just upload the new code. “It’s the same for ReST.”
Three-time Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae is an early adopter of the ReST bed, after she was given the recommendation by her World Champion coach, Siri Lindley. Carfrae gave ReST about the best endorsement one could expect from a newly-sponsored athlete. “It’s my secret weapon,” she’s said, offering that when her training volume is at 30 hours per week, the connection between a poor night’s sleep and performance is easily noticed.
Carfrae and her husband, Tim O’Donnell, who recently finished second at Mooloolaba 5150, are not only early-adopters of the bed, but also an optimized pre-sleep ritual that is both cutting edge and fairly geeky. They have a ritualized lights-out of 10pm, put away comput- ers to lower the digital stimulation volume and slide on their NormaTec recovery boots. They also keep the bedroom cool—68 degrees— which is right in line with recommendations by national sleep expert and former Navy SEAL, Dr. Kirk Parsley, MD. Parsley would also recom- mend they turn off the TV, but O’Donnell and G like to officially restrict any and all talk about
training, etc., and zone out to a movie. (For a list of Parsley’s ideas on how to optimize sleep, see sidebar)
The bed is an investment. Depending on size the ReST retails between $2799 and $5598. To test it out in person, ReST will be visiting a long list of Ironman events this summer and presum- ably other triathlons.
For more info, visit https://www.restperformance.com.