How Sleep-Tracking Changed My Life

The director of women’s initiatives for the Minnesota Vikings on mentorship and getting enough sleep for game day

Calling all Minnesota Vikings fans! Meet Tami Hedrick. She’s the director of women’s initiatives for the NFL team and has a full-packed schedule during football season. We talked to Tami for our “Women in the NFL series” with Sleep Number. She opened up about being the busy mom to seven kids, and shared how she manages to get enough ZZZs — even on game days!

Katie Couric: You have spoken before about being passionate about your job — which we really relate to! Share with us a little bit about what you do.

Tami Hedrick: People are my passion, and I have had the blessing to work nearly my entire career in a male dominated industry, while focused on women! It’s amazing. I oversee our female fan initiatives, activations, our internal female employee small group mentoring, development and engagement events, our cheerleaders as ambassadors in the community, and their cheer youth programs.

This is your 22nd season with the Vikings. What do you think has changed most over the years — both in terms of your organization and the game itself?

The most obvious change over the years have included changes in ownership, coaching, and our address. The Wilf family are the best owners in the NFL! They care about the team, the community and doing things the best. Coach Zimmer is going to lead us to a Super Bowl championship. And our new stadium and training facilities are world class and have been so exciting to witness their development and see the fan’s pride.

Your job focuses in large part on women in the Vikings organization. What do you mean when you say that “Viking women really are every woman?”

We want every woman to know they can connect to the Vikings in however they want and can! Are you a season ticket owner, or just love to wear purple? However you connect with us, we want you to know you are a Vikings woman and we are here to empower, connect, and impact with you.

Beyond your busy job, you have seven kids at home! How do you manage to get enough rest with so many responsibilities?

Sleep has to be a priority — and when you have a bed that is SO comfortable you honestly can’t wait to jump in at the day’s end! I need seven hours to be at my best. Aligning my schedule to that means I am healthier and can feel my best. We have a lot of people in our home that I love and want to take the best care of, and when I’m at my best and rested, it helps!

I love that you have an ongoing SleepIQ tech competition with your husband because Molner and I do the same thing with our Sleep Number bed! How do you think keeping track of your sleep stats helps you both get better rest?

Accountability in so many things in life helps us to reach our goals. It’s a goal for our home to be well rested and healthy. Using the SleepIQ app with my Sleep Number bed was first fun, but it became motivational and helped me stay accountable to the hours I was sleeping.

Many times trainers will say to track your food or log your workouts when you are trying to improve those areas. You can learn from tracking and it can be empowering! I’m a big fan of using tech for good.

Have you heard any interesting stories across the Vikings organization from others who are prioritizing sleep, and tracking their sleep habits?

The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders are true dance athletes. They train harder than you can imagine. In order to recover from intense workouts, great sleep is required. I know they are focused on this as part of their overall training. Jenn, one of the MVC is an overnight nurse. She tracks her SleepIQ score and knows even more than the average person how sleep can impact your quality of life!

Your husband is a police officer, which means he often has to work unpredictable hours. How has your Sleep Number bed helped prevent disruptions during the night for you?

Matt may have to come and go during the nights when he is investigating, on call, or working a night shift. His movement would often shift me in bed and wake me from sleep, upsetting the quality of hours I would get. Now, I barely notice he has left or returned! He’s grateful to climb into a comfy bed after those LONG shifts as well.

Last question! Football season is in full swing. What part of this time of year do you love the best?

The excitement around each Sunday and the possibility of the game outcome is thrilling. Communities, families, friends, and fans all gather around game day! Seeing people connect through the Vikings as they dispute rivalries, fantasy football scores, game highlights, predictions, tailgating food preparations, etc. is heart-warming to me!

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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