While the world is captivated by Travis Kelce, Taylor Swift, and how long it will take Swift to get from her concert in Japan to The Big Game venue, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are focused on winning the Super Bowl—especially their quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and Brock Purdy. 

It takes a lot of training to get these two star athletes into the shape they need to emerge victorious, but it also takes an emphasis on proper recovery. After all, the body—and mind—will break down if it doesn’t get the rest needed to repair muscles and boost brain function

Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) have officially addressed the importance of sleep for athletes, and for a good reason: Research shows that proper sleep—or lack thereof—can impact an athlete’s risk of injury, including concussions, muscle strength and activation, and overall stamina, as well as reaction time, executive function, decision-making, and memory.

Luckily, the teams’ top-tier quarterbacks don’t fall prey to poor sleep habits. Mahomes follows a consistent sleep schedule. He wakes at 7 a.m. and heads to bed by 10 p.m. at the latest, getting plenty of rest, GQ magazine reported in 2020. He reportedly slept 14 hours and 52 minutes before a 2021 faceoff between the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. It paid off with a final score of 34-28 for Mahomes and his team.  

Additionally, data from WHOOP, a recovery wearable licensed by the NFL Players Association, showed that Mahomes puts an even stronger emphasis on sleep during the playoffs, having increased his average sleep period during the 2021 playoff season by 8.1% compared to the regular season. (Although Mahome’s wife also claims he eats Doritos in bed every night before going to sleep, a habit with questionable health benefits.)

Purdy isn’t one to skimp on sleep, either, clocking at least 9 hours a night. His bedtime routine starts at the early bird hour of 6 p.m. when he puts on blue light-blocking glasses to wear while using screens. Around 8 p.m., he takes a hot shower, stashes the phone, and reads a book before drifting off. This regimen, Purdy told The Athletic, made a real difference in returning to—and succeeding on—the field after his March 2023 elbow surgery. As a rookie, he admits to still learning from the team’s veterans about what it takes to get the best rest and recovery for peak performance.

Purdy and Mahomes might be competing for football’s biggest prize, but even at-home athletes can take a cue from the sport’s elite to maximize their own fitness performance. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least 7 hours of sleep a night for adults. When you hit that amount, you might run faster, throw better, and react more quickly. If you’re not currently exercising as much as you’d like and you’re having sleep problems, take note: The benefits go both ways. Regular exercise improves sleep, and that sounds like a real win-win situation. 

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