When the Los Angeles Dodgers played the first two games of the 2014 MLB regular season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, the players were aided by some of the same technology and expertise that NASA relies upon for its astronauts.
In order to combat jet lag, reset circadian rhythms, and maintain focus, the Dodgers have turned to Lighting Science Group’s biologically-correct LED bulbs to enhance the alertness and performance of its players, coaches, and managers.
Specifically, Lighting Science outfitted the team plane, training center, dugout, and hotel rooms in Australia with its patented Awake & Alert and Good Night lights, technology originally developed with NASA to mitigate the effects of circadian rhythm disruption experienced by astronauts on the International Space Station.
Through the coordinated use of both the Good Night and Awake & Alert lights, Lighting Science Director of Research Robert Soler has been working closely with the team to provide biologically-correct light to team members to mitigate the effects of jet lag and enhance performance by improving both alertness and sleep quality.
"These lights are not just being used as a sleep aid for jet lag, they are also part of our effort to maximise the performance of every individual," said Soler, who also worked with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association teams this winter. "Overall, from both the data we have been collecting and the accounts of the athletes and their coaches, the evidence is that they are pleasantly surprised how well it works."
While in Australia, Dodgers pitcher Chris Withrow was quoted in a local news outlet as saying, “I trust them. We can’t get there and not be prepared for the game. Our bodies have to be ready.”
The Awake & Alert lights contain a higher portion of blue light in the spectrum. Exposure to blue lights suppresses natural melatonin production, increasing energy levels and ability to focus.
The Good Night light works in the opposite way. While still emitting a commercially-standard white light, the bulb contains a lower portion of blue light thus allowing for the natural secretion of melatonin and a good night’s sleep.
The team has also been outfitted with nine wristwatches that collect data about deep sleep, light sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep as well as heart-rate activity, skin temperature, and perspiration. Manager Don Mattingly is wearing one of the nine watches.
After Australia, the Dodgers will play three exhibition games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before continuing to San Diego for the remainder of the regular season.
Soler is accompanying the Dodgers through these games to ensure they receive biologically correct light and a smooth adjustment of players’ circadian rhythms for optimal performance.
[Image: Lighting Science]