Esports is taking the world by storm with booming participation and viewership, and major sports like NASCAR and the NBA are jumping into esports during COVID-19.
Now more than ever esports organisations around the world are looking at ways they can best support the health and well-being of their players, including sleep health.
Over the past year, Global esports giant Gen.G has partnered with a multi-national team of sleep experts to better understand and enhance the sleep of its players and coaches.
The sleep team includes clinical psychologist Daniel Bonnar and Professor Michael Gradisar at Flinders University, clinical psychologist Sangha Lee and Associate Professor Sooyeon Suh (Sungshin University), Associate Professor Brandy Roane (University of North Texas), Dr Daniel Blum (Stanford University; Sleep Wise) and Associate Professor Ian C Dunican (Edith Cowan University).
“As our players continue to compete on a global stage, player wellness and health is critically important to us here at Gen.G,” says Nathan Stanz, General Manager of Gen.G Esports.
“We are happy to be providing insight into the habits of our professional players for this study.”
Now, for the first time ever, female participants have completed the sleep program, with members of the Gen.G (US) female Fortnite team getting involved.
Associate Professor Sooyeon Suh noted the aligned values between the sleep team and Gen.G.
“One of our aims is to boost female representation in esports research and Gen.G are a world leader when it comes to promoting equality in esports, so they were really keen to offer their female players the chance to participate”.
The sleep program, conducted by Dr Daniel Blum, aimed to improve the sleep of the Fortnite players using a combination of education, one on one sessions and bio-feedback.
Although data from all participating teams is yet to be published, outcomes from the Fortnite team were positive.
“Dr Blum and the Fortnite team worked really well together. In fact, at the end of the program the female players were some of the best sleepers we’ve tested so far” says Sangha Lee.
Team coach, Andrew Leverette says participating in the sleep program was really informative for both the coaching staff and the players.
“We were able to apply what we learned and immediately saw the results two weeks later. I am excited to use what we learned for all current and future Gen.G players”.
Fortnite pro Carlee Gress from the team says it was such an awesome experience to be a part of and the information she learned from it will be remembered forever.
“Not only did it help my sleep but doing this also helped my performance in gaming as well”.
Daniel Bonnar says the research helping esport players and coaches continues for the sleep team.
“We have a range of projects either running or in the pipeline. I encourage any esports organisation out there who wants to help support the sleep health of their players to get in touch.