We need only look to competitive sports to see qualified results from quality sleep. Stanford University measured their players’ athletic performance in two different sports, first on their normal sleeping schedules, and then during a 5- to 7-week period where they were required to spend at least 10 hours in bed each night. During the period of increased sleep, the men’s basketball players on average had faster sprint times by 0.7 seconds, improved free throw shooting by 9 percent and improved three-point shooting by 9.2 percent. The players also demonstrated improved vigor and decreased fatigue, based on standardized psychomotor and sleepiness scales.1 Meanwhile, men on the football teams who slept 10 or more hours a night saw improvements in their 20-yard shuttle and 40-yard dash times, as well as improvements to their daytime energy levels and mood, and reduced daytime fatigue.2
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- Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, Dement WC. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep. 2011 Jul 1;34(7):943-50.
- Clegg, Jonathan, “College Football Wakes Up to a New Statistic: Sleep”, Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2015