It's common knowledge that eating healthy and working out are keys for athletes when it comes to maximizing performance. But there's a third factor that's equally important and should no longer be an afterthought.
Prioritizing sleep was just one of the many things guard Karim Barton learned as a recent Mattress Firm marketing intern. One of his projects included interviewing teammates about the importance of a good night's rest.
"It was awesome to ask them a few questions about sleep, performance, and what they think about how it affects performance on the field," Barton said.
Sleeping well can help boost performance when it comes to reaction time, mental alertness, muscular recovery, and information retention, and through rest and recovery, can help create a foundation for success.
"The value of a good night's sleep is a crucial part of performing at your best," Barton said.
Barton was first introduced to the importance of sleep when he previously played for the Eagles, where his sleep patterns were monitored through wearable technology. Simply trying to catch up on sleep the night before a game wasn't enough.
As a marketing intern, Barton found Mattress Firm's three core values – integrity, service and passion – translated seamlessly to the football field.
"I personally believe I relate to those three because on the field coach O'Brien talks about integrity, being where you're supposed to be, accountability, always knowing what you're supposed to do on the field and being on time. I'm passionate on the football field, but to see the passion here at Mattress Firm, it's definitely spot on."
Just like with any winning team, success came through hard work and a positive work environment.
"One of the big things I definitely felt when I came here was the culture," Barton said. "It was just a sense of togetherness. Everybody is together. Everybody makes decisions together. I definitely liked it. Everybody welcomed me with open arms."
Barton is extremely grateful for the time he spent with Mattress Firm, and would highly recommend internship opportunities to others.
"Whenever you have the opportunity, just seize it, because you just never know when that will come around again," Barton said. "You never know when that opportunity that you take advantage of will impact your future. It was definitely a lot of work, but I wouldn't trade it for nothing because it will pay dividends for me down the line.
"I definitely want to thank the organization from top to bottom. The one-on-one time I had was definitely instrumental to me, not only to learn about myself, but the growth, and that was paramount."
For Mattress Firm, the feeling was mutual.
"As a company that's been a part of the Houston community for nearly 30 years, we were thrilled to have a player from our hometown team join the Mattress Firm family," Mattress Firm president and CEO Ken Murphy said. "In just the short time Karim worked with us, his strong work ethic and passion for helping others became immediately evident. Having Karim be a part of our team was truly a pleasure and makes us even more proud to be the official mattress retailer of the Houston Texans."