“Using the Pod to track my sleep, regulate temperature, and provide daily biometrics has been a game-changer in improving my productivity as an athlete.”
Growing up in the Bronx, Daryl began fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation when he was 11. In 2016, he won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and became the first U.S. medalist in men's saber fencing since 1984. Homer is currently training for the next Olympics. During his spare time, he volunteers at the Peter Westbrook Foundation to continue to bring fencing to inner-city kids.
Image: The New York Times
What are your goals for the year?
I’m obviously gearing up towards the next Olympic games and personally, just kind of continue to grow as a person and self-actualizing.
You’ve been using the Pod for a while, what has the experience been like?
I love sleeping on the Pod, it has been a game-changer for me. The metrics on my deep sleep is the biggest thing I look at on physical recovery, so it’s been great for me.
When I’m using the Pod, I’m very really focused on deep sleep and REM sleep. REM helps in your processing time, which is super important to a fast-paced sport, and deep sleep obviously in terms of the physical recovery after the tough sessions.
I look at the hours I spend in bed, sleep latency, and my overall sleep fitness so the score I get at the end.
What temperature do you sleep at?
I generally sleep pretty warmly, and then I cool down in the middle of the night.
What has been your best sleep score?
My highest sleep score ever is 99. And I’m gonna get a hundred sometime, sometime soon.
How has your relationship with sleep evolved?
My relationship with sleep has changed from being a necessity to something that I know helps fuel in my recovery and my performance. So I definitely prioritize it more and I’m more focused on this really being healthy in that area of my life as well.
Are there any correlations between sleep and your performance?
In terms of health, wellness, and performance, sleep is the number one thing that I look at as an indicator of how I’m gonna perform. Sleep helps me gear up for performance and recover from my performance.
I definitely look at sleep as one of the key attributes to being able to perform at a high level, being well-rested and able to process things and really give my all when I go out and compete.
How do you feel after a good sleep?
After a good sleep, I’m less cranky, I have more energy. I’m kinder. I can process things better.
How do you feel after poor sleep?
When I haven’t slept well because my sleep has been interrupted, I can be a little bit more aggravated, a little bit more on-edge. There’s a mark of difference when I sleep well and I don’t.
Prepping for the next Olympics has taken you around the world, how do you stay Sleep Fit?
The main thing I try to focus on when I’m traveling is just getting as much sleep as possible. Trying to bring my sleep routine wherever I go. So if it’s drinking tea, eating fruit before bed, brushing my teeth obviously, showers, candles, just things that kind of remind me of home and it kind of gets me into a more relaxed state.
How many hours do you sleep a night?
I try to get between 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
“When you think about fitness, you think about a routine. I think that’s where having a regimen around your sleep, and really focusing on that can only provide you with fuel to do other things in life. And that’s where I look at sleep as fitness.”
How is your preparation for the next Olympics different from Rio 2016?
The cool thing about the Olympics and the stressful thing is that you have many tournaments in the meantime that you’re focusing on. So you do have to be really regimented and keep a big picture goal and minor goals each day.
You're focused on your performance during the day, recovering at night, you have to keep that same focus on a myopic and macro level as well. So, that's definitely a huge part of how I've changed my thought process on sleep.
I never took days off before. I just focused on my body and now it’s much more about recovery, my mind, and overall health and wellness.
We have talked about growing up as a New York City kid juggling fencing, school, life, and falling asleep on the train. What advice would you share with young athletes?
As a kid, I definitely didn't sleep enough. As I’ve gotten older and when I give advice to people it’s that obviously sleep is a huge part of your recovery. So, prioritize that and give yourself a chance to do that on a high level because that can only pay dividends to you doing more things on a high level during your waking hours.
Can you share your best Sleep Fitness tips?
Three pieces of advice I’d give anyone trying to maintain sleep fitness would just be to set a time to know when you want to be in bed and know when you want to be out of bed and to really commit to that. Build a really strong morning routine or sleep routine. And then to prioritize sleep because it’s important.