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