June 13, 2007 -- Getting some extra ZZZs before the big game may give athletes an extra edge.
A new study shows college basketball players who got extra sleep for as little as two weeks significantly improved their game. They ran faster and made more free throws than they did with their typical sleep schedule.
Researcher Cheri Mah and colleagues at Stanford University say much research has looked at the effects of sleep depravation on performance, but very little research has looked at the effects of extra sleep on performance.
The results of the study were presented this week at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Sleep Societies in Minneapolis.
Extra Sleep May Help Athletes
In the study, six healthy members of the Stanford University men’s basketball team maintained their usual sleeping habits for two weeks, and in the following two weeks the athletes were instructed to get as much extra sleep as possible.
Throughout the study, researchers measured the students’ athletic performance in several areas, including sprint time and shooting percentages.
By the end of the extended sleep period, the results showed that average sprint time had decreased by a second and average free throw percentage increased.
In addition, the athletes also reported increased energy and improved mood during practices and games.
Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night to maintain good health and peak performance.