MONDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- A batter's best chance of hitting it out of the park may depend on the time of the game, and whether or not that batter is a morning person or a night owl.
New research on Major League Baseball players suggests that morning types connect with the ball more often when the game starts before 2 p.m., while night owls are at their peak hitting performance when the game's start time is after 8 p.m.
Overall, night owls seemed better able to adapt to hitting at times other than their peak, the study authors found.
"Sleep matters. Paying attention to sleep and the variables surrounding your sleep do affect your performance. Coaches should pay attention, and may want to select their batters based on their sleep chronotype and the time of the game," said study author Dr. W. Christopher Winter, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Va.
In addition, he said, "Coaches could start looking at players based on their chronotype during drafts. Someone who's a night owl might be better able to adapt. Night owls tend to do OK in either situation, but morning people really suffer at night."
Chronotype refers to someone's inherent preference for day or night time. For example, people with a morning chronotype are at their best in the morning.
Results of the study are scheduled to be presented Monday at SLEEP 2011, in Minneapolis.
The study included 16 professional baseball players from seven Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, including the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays. The players' average age was 29.
To assess whether someone was a morning or evening type, the researchers gave each player a modified Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire. The questionnaire included ques
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