Sleep system for Olympic Games and Tour de France
I was challenged by Sir Dave Brailsford back in 2009 into how I was going to do my bit to help Team Sky win the Tour de France.
I spoke with the Head of Marginal Gains, Matt Parker, and he confirmed not only would the riders change hotel and bed 19 times in 21 days, the teams had no say in which hotel they stayed in.
Sleep is THE most important parameter in recovery and yet it was being left to random chance that we would have a good bed to achieve it on.
This is where the “bed in the bag”, or the R90 Sleep System, to give its proper name, was born. It has since been adopted by sporting teams across the globe.
We worked with industry experts to produce a bespoke, tailored to their shape and weight, memory foam bed. We used hypoallergenic sheets from burns hospitals to minimise riders sticking to the sheets if they had crashed and cut themselves. These replaced the beds in the hotel, switched out by the performance team ahead of the race every day.
This meant the riders slept in the same bed – their bed – every night, whilst riding the hardest bike race in the world. We even encouraged them to bring their own pillow cases from home, as research shows the allergens and dust particles of a new hotel pillow case can challenge your immune system in your nose and mouth by more than 15% more than a familiar one.
It seems so obvious now that this would help a rider recovery and ride better. But no one had ever done it before.