Extended sleep boosts athletic performance.
The study involved 11 healthy students on the Stanford University men's varsity basketball team and was conducted during two basketball seasons from 2005 to 2008.
The players maintained their habitual sleep-wake schedule for a baseline period of two to four weeks during the NCAA basketball season, sleeping for an average of less than seven hours per night.
The following period of sleep extension lasted five to seven weeks, during which the participants obtained as much nocturnal sleep as possible with a minimum goal of 10 hours in bed per night.
Objective mean total sleep time during sleep extension was nearly 8.5 hours per night.
Speed during 282-foot sprints improved significantly from 16.2 seconds at baseline to 15.5 seconds after sleep extension, and shooting accuracy increased significantly by nine percent on both free throws and three-point field goals.
Subjects also reported improved overall ratings of physical and mental well-being during practices and games.
"Following multiple weeks of sleep extension, elite athletes demonstrated improvements in specific indicators of basketball athletic performance including higher shooting percentages and faster sprint times," said lead author Cheri D. Mah, MS, researcher at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory in Stanford, Calif.
"Subjects also demonstrated faster reaction time, decreased levels of daytime sleepiness, and mood improvements," he noted.
The study appeared in the July 1 issue of the journal SLEEP. (ANI)
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