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Ongoing study continues to show that extra sleep improves athletic performance
Date:6/8/2008

WESTCHESTER, Ill. Getting extra sleep over an extended period of time improves athletic performance, mood and alertness, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at the SLEEP 2008 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Baltimore, Md.

Participants in this ongoing study were five healthy students on the Stanford University men's and women's swimming teams. For the first two weeks of the study, the students maintained their usual sleep-wake pattern. The athletes then extended their sleep to 10 hours per day for six to seven weeks.

Athletic performance was assessed after each regularly scheduled swim practice. After obtaining extra sleep, athletes swam a 15-meter meter sprint 0.51 seconds faster, reacted 0.15 seconds quicker off the blocks, improved turn time by 0.10 seconds and increased kick strokes by 5.0 kicks.

"These results begin to elucidate the importance of sleep on athletic performance and, more specifically, how sleep is a significant factor in achieving peak athletic performance," said lead author Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory. "While this study focuses specifically on collegiate swimmers, it agrees with data from my other studies of different sports and suggests that athletes across all sports can greatly benefit from extra sleep and gain the additional competitive edge to perform at their highest level."

The study also monitored daytime sleepiness and weekly changes in mood. Daytime sleepiness decreased significantly with extra sleep, while mood improvements related to getting extra sleep included higher ratings of vigor and lower ratings of fatigue.

"Typically, many athletes accumulate a large sleep debt by not obtaining their individual sleep requirement each night, which can have detrimental effects on cognitive function, mood, and reaction time," said Mah. "These negative effects can be minimi
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Contact: Kathleen McCann
kmccann@aasmnet.org
312-330-7694
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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