In May of 2018, luxury fitness brand Equinox worked with researchers from UCLA to conduct a sleep study to determine how athletic performance is influenced by sleep. The results inspired Equinox to incorporate sleep coaching into Tier X, one of its lifestyle management programs.
Equinox fitness clubs separate personal training programs into tiers, beginning with Tier 1 and peaking at Tier X. In addition to increasing fitness goals, the tiers also denote the level of experience that the trainers will have. According to Equinox, the Tier X program offers the most advanced wellness and health training within all of its classes and clubs, and soon its trainers will become certified in sleep coaching.
The idea that good sleep hygiene helps fuel physical performance may seem intuitive, but every tier within Equinox wellness programs relies on behavioral training influenced by scientific research. Researchers at Equinox and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA worked together to conduct a sleep study to determine how sleep coaching influences fitness. This clinical research marked the first of its kind, and the results indicated that “coaching” led to improvement in sleep quality which enhanced athletic performance.
According to the Equinox website, sleep coaching is meant to complement the movement and nutrition training already offered in the program. The trainers believe that harmonizing those three pillars of wellness is the only way to reach an “elite state of fitness”.
WHAT DOES THIS RESEARCH MEAN FOR FITNESS?
Equinox and UCLA researchers organized a sleep study that lasted 12 weeks and involved 32 participants split into two groups. During these weeks, one group was “coached” and instructed to record detailed sleep-logs to be evaluated by researchers. This group had their sleep closely monitored and the researchers made tweaks to any bedtime habits they thought were unhealthy. The group that received sleep coaching exhibited better performance at the gym than the other group; they also experienced a greater reduction in body fat.
The results of this study motivated the fitness brand to begin offering sleep coaching, but so far, it’s only available at select locations and is exclusive to Tier X members. However, they have recently begun offering a six-session sleep coaching program independent of athletic training at 22 locations within the Equinox portfolio. Sleepopolis reached out to Equinox to learn more about these new wellness programs, but they have declined to comment.
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While the new Tier X sleep coaching seems to still be under development, sleepers do not need to be members of Equinox in order to benefit from the findings of this clinical research. The study indicated that the group to receive sleep coaching burned considerably more calories and felt more energized than the group that was not coached. So, no matter the fitness routine, making healthy changes to bedtime habits has officially been proven to enhance athletic performance.
This research might encourage those struggling with the balance of rest and exercise to record their own sleep logs in order to get a better sense of which habits are hindering fitness goals. We at Sleepopolis know that proper rest is essential to wellness, so developing a personal sleep schedule can be very beneficial to physical performance.
Featured image: @equinox on Instagram