Sleep Doctor is Guru of Slumber for Professional Sports Teams


More practice or more sleep? Most sports teams know intuitively that sleep is essential, and they enforce the notion with strict curfews.


The idea that sleep can add up to a real advantage in high-stakes sports can be seen in the high respect given to Harvard sleep specialist Charles Czeisler. According to a lengthy story in the Atlantic by Danielle Elliot, Dr. Czeisler gets frequent calls from NHL and NBA coaches asking for advice.


According to Elliot, Czeisler is a tenured professor at Harvard Medical School and a go-to expert for professional sports teams from every major league. “In the age of analytics-as-religion, teams are looking for every possible way to squeeze more skill out of elite athletes,” writes Elliot. “They consult experts on everything from the number of minutes a player should be on the court to how many fourth down conversions they should attempt. But Czeisler recommends something much simpler: more sleep.”


As director of the Division Sleep Medicine at Harvard, Czeisler is known around the NBA as the Sleep Doctor. “Jovial, he presents most of the research with a slight laugh, as if to say none of this should come as a surprise,” writes Elliot. “It’s sleep. And yet, it’s so poorly understood. Beyond sports, he’s also consulted with NASA and the Secret Service.”


Source: The Atlantic


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