As a journalist who covers a variety of science-backed solutions that make us healthier and happier, I was eager to get my hands on some of Under Armour’s latest gear, which claims to make you a better athlete overnight — literally.
Athlete Recovery Sleepwear comes with a set of ambitions as big as Tom Brady’s or Misty Copeland’s: to help you perform better by promoting better muscle recovery while you sleep. The secret lies in the Far Infrared technology — a barely noticeable print on the inside of your PJs that helps reflect your body heat back to your skin. According to independent research from Harvard, fabrics that get a tech boost from Far Infrared bio-ceramic prints can help your body rebuild itself faster by reducing inflammation after you’ve done a number on your muscles.
In short, the ultra-soft PJs promise to pull off a near fitness miracle while you get your beauty rest. I was skeptical.
The first time I slipped into the pajamas, I was already sore from a killer TRX class two days prior (typically the second day of recovery is the roughest for me). I highly doubted a pair of pajamas was going to do anything about that. At best, I figured they’d be a comfy upgrade to the ratty college T-shirts I usually sleep in.
The next morning, I was noticeably less sore. In fact, the pain from the previous day was totally gone. But since it was day three of recovery and a Saturday morning (meaning a well-needed morning of sleeping late) that could very well have been a coincidence. Over the next few weeks, however, that felt less and less like a fluke. Here’s what I noticed:
FASTER MUSCLE RECOVERY
My typical workout cycle usually involves soreness that starts to set in mid morning on the day following an intense gym session. By evening, I’m really feeling it and when I wake up the next morning (day two of recovery) the pain is at its peak. Almost immediately, I noticed a shift in that pattern with Under Armour’s Athlete Recovery Sleepwear. While I still experienced next-day soreness, my second-day soreness disappeared almost completely. Not only did that feel a lot better, it also made it a lot easier to stick to a gym schedule, knowing I wouldn’t risk overdoing it by hitting up a kickboxing class while still feeling sore and stiff.
Overall, I felt like I experienced less morning stiffness and soreness. Rather than spend the first few moments of my morning hobbling around and slowly stretching out cramped muscles, I felt noticeably more limber and flexible. Whether the previous day was a workout or rest day, I definitely felt an extra spring in my morning step.
Aside from the body benefits, Under Armour’s new high-tech sleepwear is surprisingly soft and cozy. Hearing the term “ceramic,” I was a little nervous the PJs might be scratchy, but I slumbered even more softly than I do in my usual roster of cotton tees. I liked the look and feel of the pajamas so much I even started wearing the long sleeve top as warm-up gear for chilly early morning workouts. Talk about a multi-tasker.
Even better, the pjs can be washed normally — with all of my other clothes. The fabric is guaranteed for the life of the garment, too, which means that the “science” doesn’t wash out over time.
After a month of giving my bedtime routine a high-tech, science-backed boost, I am definitely surprised by the benefits of better sleep. I’m not sure my PJ upgrade will have me performing at Tom’s level anytime soon, but I do feel empowered to hit the gym harder two days in a row knowing a more restorative sleep will be waiting for me on the other side.