How To Get the Right Furniture for Your Student Athletes

In Blog, Student Engagement by Morgan Dix

Do you have a robust athletics program at your school? Do you struggle to find appropriately sized beds for athletes?

If you do, how do you accommodate special housing needs and requests by student athletes, or your athletic department?

beds for athletes is special need in colleges and universities

At DCI, we know a lot about making furniture for student athletes. DCI has a long history of making furniture for Division 1 student athletes, Olympians and professionals.

We supplied beds for athletes at the Olympic villages in Atlanta in 1996 and Salt Lake City in 2002.

We’ve also engineered custom beds for athletes for the University of Maryland Basketball Team, the UC Irvine Basketball team, UCLA Bruin football players, and the summer training camp for the San Francisco 49ers.

Beds For Athletes – Students Have Special Needs

You see, it’s important to recognize that student athletes have a special and specific set of needs. As a long-time advisor of student-athletes, Holly Martin of Kansas State University had this to say:

Remember that student-athletes are frequently making a huge transition to the often extremely demanding world of college athletics as well as to the challenging demands of college academics. They need understanding and support during this difficult transition in order to get off to a good start.

So among other things, to handle this transition in the best way possible, students need to get enough sleep. But one often-overlooked need for student athletes, especially basketball and football players, is beds for athletes. For many, they need to be oversized.

These students don’t fit in normal beds. They need special custom size beds. And if they don’t get those beds, it affects their sleep. Make no mistake about it.

Preventing Sleep Loss Among Students Athletes

According to the NCAA, sleep loss is a prominent concern in the student athlete population and getting enough sleep for student athletes is incredibly important.

For example, sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, emotional regulation, growth and cell repair. … However, many people – including student-athletes – do not get the amount of sleep they need, often due to insomnia, sleepapnea or another sleep disorder…understanding and dealing with sleep problems may have a profound effect on mental clarity and health.

And according to a new study from Eve Van Cauter, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago Medical School, it’s clear that poor sleep and sleep deprivation can have a dramatic impact on athletic performance.

Reporting on the study for the website VeryWell, exercise physiologist Elizabeth Quinn reports that:

Sleep Deprivation inhibits glucose metabolism, decreases endurance. … Levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) were also higher during sleep deprivation periods, which has been linked to memory impairment, age-related insulin resistance, and impaired recovery in athletes. Other studies link sleep deprivation with decreased aerobic endurance and increased ratings of perceived exertion, and decreased reaction time.

Size Matters

The biggest defining characteristic that separates athletes from the average student is size. Let’s face it, if your competing at the highest level (forgive the pun), there’s a good chance you’re tall.

The most common bed size in student housing is Twin XL, which accommodates a 36×80 mattress (6 1/2 feet long). For athletes over 6’ tall we offer a full line of beds to accommodate mattresses that are 85”, 90” and 95” long.

Here’s the beauty of this. We custom manufacture the XXL sleeping surfaces to integrate seamlessly into existing inventory. That means you don’t need to stock special bed ends to make these conversions. In some cases you need to loft or bunk the XXL beds, but that’s no problem because we provide you with all the components to do that.

As an added service, we have partnered with mattress and bedding manufactures to offer a complete line of products tailored for these special sizes.

It can be a challenge to seek out these specialized products, so we recommend accommodating the athletes with a packaged solution so they don’t end up sleeping like Will Ferrel in the movie Elf.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line, we all need a good night’s sleep. But for student athletes, who are going through major life transitions with increased demands on their minds and bodies, that need is much greater.

If you have student athletes, please connect with our team so we can customize a solution that works for you and your student athletes. We’re also happy to make recommendations on implementing a program. We can help you avoid a stressful last minute scramble for solutions.

(Photo via Flickr CC: Chad Cooper)