Inside Track
See more of the story

Pete Bils, Sleep Number’s vice president of sleep science and research, has some sound sleep advice for Super Bowl visitors on how to make the most of their visit.

Minneapolis – based Sleep Number is a member of the Super Bowl host committee and has a display on the Nicollet Mall and the first floor of the old Dayton’s department store where visitors can get an interactive experience of the company’s latest most innovative bed, their 360 Smart Bed.

Visitors can give the bed a test drive inside and then stop outside to their booth on the mall and play a virtual reality football game that demonstrates the negative effects of poor sleep.

With more than 20 years researching sleep Bils said the good news is most visitors to the game are going to have a short trip - ­3 to 4 days for most. And visitors, including both East Coast teams playing in the game, won’t experience severe time changes. That means people will acclimate quickly and recover in a day or two when they get home.

But Bils (@SleepGeekPete) expects that most people will cheat their sleep during their stay, comparing the disruption to major holidays. But he wouldn’t advocate people try to stay up for 24 to 36 hours straight.

His Super Bowl sleep advice starts at home. “Arrive well rested,” Bils said. “You are better able to handle disruptions in your sleep if you have strong sleep habits.”

Even with short trips and less than three or more time-zone changes Bils urges people to aware of time. He suggests keeping two timepieces, one set to local time and one set to home time. Use your home time to stay on schedule for medications and try to maintain some semblance of your regular resting and eating schedule back home.

“If your stay is a week or more - then you really have to think about how you acclimate,” Bils said.

All sleep is not created equal, just like junk food isn’t as nourishing to your body. Too much caffeine, alcohol, bright lights and loud noises mean people bounce around longer in light sleep stages and don’t move quickly into more restorative deep sleep stages. “At Sleep Number we believe this is the equivalent of ‘junk sleep’”, Bills said.

The goal as always should be to get has much quality sleep as possible, but if you plan to live it up - a few more tips can help. Bils, who travels two-thirds of the year, says some of these travel tips will work this week.

Bils says proper hydration can help with sleep, especially for those who might have exhausting flights and are not used to Minnesota’s cold, dry environment. Proper hydrating includes avoiding excessive caffeine after noon since caffeine can remain in your system for hours.

When the partying is done for the night Bils has some tips to get to sleep better. Try to mimic the low light hours that have traditionally cued us to sleep. Turn off the bright lights in your hotel room or bedroom, even the bright lights from TV screens, smart phones, and computers can trick your brain into thinking there is more daylight left.

If your mind is racing from excitement or anticipation Bils suggests trying some mind games like counting backwards, alphabet games, or simple reflection on your most relaxing activities. Soothing music and white noise machines can also help calm your mind. Bils also says eye masks and ear plugs can be helpful and a clothes pin is a neat hack to keep hotel drapes closed all the way. He says those who do yoga know it is a huge sleep relaxation technique.

A three or four-day trip is not likely to mess sleep up too much, but Bils still urges moderation. “The more you can moderate and keep to your normal sleep patterns the better you will absolutely enjoy the entire experience and enjoy Minneapolis the way we want people to do.” Bils said