Michael Phelps afforded the press a closer look at his sleeping arrangements, and they turned out to include a hypobaric chamber. Yahoo! Sports noted that the gold medal swimmer considers this unusual bedroom to be part of his training regimen.
Hypobaric Chambers not very unusual among Athletes
"It's just like a giant box," Phelps pointed out. Retailing or approximately $15,000, this chamber mimics oxygen levels present at 8,500 feet above sea level. Going back to 2001, Wired reported that gold medalist Katerina Neumannova prepared for her cross-country skiing competitions by using a tent simulating a 9,000-foot altitude. If the stats are accurate, some 500 athletes relied on these tents -- made by the same manufacturer that produced Phelps' sleeping chamber -- in 2001. While sleeping at high altitudes is not a panacea for athletic performance woes, the time spent snoozing at a simulated high altitude is thought to improve performance by about three percent.
Fast forward to 2010, and you may be surprised to learn that the British soccer players relied on altitude tent sleeping accommodations before the World Cup. The Tech Journal explained that these players hoped to increase their red blood cell counts, which are responsible for delivering oxygen to the various muscle groups. (FIFA 2010 results showed the Germans beating the Brits in the Round of 16, before being eliminated themselves by the Spanish in the semi-finals.)
Coffins, Cribs, and Snakes
The Huffington Post noted that a Brazilian man has taken to his coffin every Friday night for 23 years. Zeli Rossi claims that doing so honors his deceased friend, who purchased the coffin for Rossi when false stories of his death circulated. When Rossi's friend later died, Rossi purchased a new coffin for his burial and began spending every Friday night in his own coffin to honor his friend's memory. ABC News ran a story about a 31-year-old man who enjoys dressing and acting like a baby, even down to sleeping in an oversized crib. A counselor diagnosed this babyhood lifestyle as a coping mechanism that seems to be working well for the man.
For David Jones, sleeping with venomous snakes was a rather odd sleeping arrangement he nevertheless willingly undertook in the pursuit of a world record. MSNBC reported in July 2010 that the British carpenter had taken up residence in Ghana's Chameleon Cultural Village snake farm. With cobras in the cupboards, black mambas and puff adders on the loose, Jones entrusted his life to a night guard who would keep snakes away from the sleeping record hopeful. The BBC followed up in August 2010 with the news that Jones did indeed best the world record, survived his ordeal, and raised funds for St. Catherine's Hospice in Crawley.