Sleep is a crucial aspect of recovery, and aiding sports people to get a good kip is becoming a major part of sports science. Unable to afford permanent accommodation at their Landore training ground, English Premier League side Swansea City have installed 30 inflatable pods so their players can get a few hours rest between morning and afternoon sessions.
The pods were created by British company Snoozebox, who this year provided their inflatable hotel rooms at Glastonbury and the British Grand Prix.
“Pre-season is where the volume of work is at its highest,” said Jonny Northeast, Swansea’s head of sports science and fitness. “So it’s important we try and provide the players with as many recovery strategies as we can in order to get the best out of them on the pitch.
“One way is to aid their sleep. Last season we started monitoring their sleep patterns with special digital sleep bands. This is the next step for us.
“By having the Snoozeboxes at the training ground it means the players don’t have to travel to and from home in between sessions. By having something available on site it is better for everyone. The boys find it beneficial and have taken to them really well.
“The likes of Real Madrid, who have a hotel on site, and Manchester United do the same thing.”
The pods measure 3.6m x 2m x 2m, making them large enough to fit a range of bed configurations, including up to four bunks, however Swansea have opted for each to house a double bed. Snoozebox also have pods featuring showers, air-conditioning, USB ports and WiFi – although Swansea opted to avoid these bells and whistles.
“We haven’t gone that far. They probably wouldn’t come out if we did,” said Northeast. “Saying that, they’ve already managed to hack into the WiFi coming from the main building.’’
At this stage the pods are a temporary fixture for the heavy workload of the pre-season, but Northeast says the club may extend their use.
“They are due to be returned before we go to Germany at the end of next week. But we’ll assess their benefits fully while we’re away and if the compliance and uptake is good we may try and keep them for a bit longer.”
In May this year Snoozebox was awarded overall winner for Architectural Design at the 2015 Good Design Awards.
The inflatable pods are the second generation of Snoozebox’s portable rooms, with the original design based on four pods in a shipping container, which can be stacked on top of each other to maximise rooms over a small surface area.