NBA athletes are among the most sleep deprived professional athletes in the world.
Between the arduous demands of traveling to the exhausting rigors of the season itself, an early and consistent bed time is not a slam dunk for the vast majority of players from around the league.
As a result, NBC Sports is reporting that the Dallas Mavericks have recently partnered with Vancouver-based Fatigue Science to help monitor the sleep habits of its players.
Players will each be given a wearable device capable of tracking the depth and duration of their shut-eye.
“So if a player is sleeping six hours a night and says, ‘I feel fine,’ we can actually say, ‘we can make your reaction time better if you’re sleeping eight hours.’ We can prove it to you, we can show you,” explains Fatigue Science founder Pat Byrn.
While Byrn’s assessment that improved sleep will leave players feeling better and performing better is undoubtedly true, once again we are witnessing how too much emphasis is being placed on technology’s ability to monitor but not treat sleep deficiency.
Consequently, when all is said and done, the Dallas Mavericks may gain little beyond affirmation of what is already known – the team is ill-rested and would benefit from longer, deeper, more quality sleep.
This week, Nike made headlines with the latest refresh in its popular line of mobile fitness trackers. But even the Nike+ FuelBand SE, which monitors sleep, falls short of delivering a viable solution to the inadequate amount of sleep that scores of wearable devices can now affirm.
Imagine if the Nike Fuelband SE integrated Sleep Genius, a neuroscience-based mobile app for iOS that has proven in clinical trials to help 75% of people get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Nike’s product would then be able to monitor sleeping patterns and facilitate a better night’s sleep. The same is true for the Dallas Mavericks. If players were given the technology to both track and treat their sleep deficiencies, the team would gain exponentially more than the current efforts will allow.
Nonetheless, the team and those who are striving to help players feel better and play better through more restful sleep deserve ample praise for finally bringing attention to a problem that has been ignored in the NBA and across professional sports for far too long.
Amidst a recent wave of alarming reports detailing how more athletes are relying on energy drinks to stay awake and sleeping pills to fall sleep, technology is finally proving itself to be a viable solution for sleeplessness that is equal parts safe and effective.
So unlike Nike, which has fallen short of delivering a truly comprehensive wearable mHealth solution, Mark Cuban – the serial entrepreneur, investor, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks – may ultimately succeed where others have failed in this market.
A mobile technology aficionado and investor, Cuban has become a pioneer in the use of mobile in everything from apps that encourage fan engagement at basketball games to state-of-the-art mobile-based speech recognition services. If his past is any indication of his future, Cuban may very well find his next fortune in the development and implementation of wearable mobile technology that does more than just track a problem.
With Mark Cuban backing the efforts now underway to study how well his players are currently sleeping, it’s clear that the irreverent Mavericks owner is keenly aware of the sleep-related problems his team is facing. And he is, undoubtedly, just as aware of the solutions and corresponding opportunities available in today’s market that can help his team and the mobile masses at large.
Even though venture capital is flowing into the mHealth space in record amount todays, the most copious funding is poised to no longer be reserved for the simple activity trackers that are now a dime-a-dozen. Without a corresponding and effective mechanism for treating or improving the activities being monitored, their value and utility are fatally limited.
Consumers are clamoring for a fusion of technologies that delivers a complete mHealth program designed to monitor, diagnose, and treats any number of conditions.
In terms of potential couplings in today’s market, the possibilities are practically endless. Scores of cutting-edge mobile apps and wearable devices addressing everything from depression to diabetes are being recommended – or even prescribed – by doctors and specialists who have witnessed in practice the invaluable utility of mobile health solutions.
“We all have to be brutally honest about where we can add value and where we cannot,” Cuban once said while speaking of entrepreneurial prowess. In the wearable mHealth device market today, it is clear where value can and must be added.
The only question is whether Mr. Cuban will be the first big-league entrepreneur to seize an incredible opportunity that steadily comes more into focus with each passing day.