Avoid March Madness Sleep Deprivation

It’s March, and the madness is about to begin.  

March Madness, otherwise known as the NCAA Basketball Tournament, starts today.  Over the two-and-a-half weeks, 68 teams from around the country will play in “win or go home” basketball games, with up to 16 games played in ONE DAY in the early rounds.  That’s JUST in the men’s tournament and doesn’t even count the NIT or the CBA!  If you’re a fan of the game, or if you’re only paying attention because you’ve got a bracket in the office pool, that’s a lot of time in front of the TV.  And, with some games starting at 10 p.m. or later on the east coast, it’s also most likely a lot of time in front of the TV when you should be sleeping.

Research has shown that even short-term sleep deprivation can cause confusion, impaired memory, diving mishaps and diminished vision. So, what can a college basketball fan do during March Madness?  Here are five tips to help keep you from looking like a zombie between now and the National Championship game on April 3.

  • Use Technology — DVRs allow easy recording of games and streamlined viewing afterwards. The biggest challenge is keeping friends from prematurely revealing the results of games already played.  We call it “entering the cone of silence”.  Keep off of Facebook and Twitter, don’t read any texts, avoid the telephone, and enjoy the game on your own time.
  • Avoid Artificial Stimulants — Coffee and energy drinks can help short-term, but avoid them in the afternoon (this means you should avoid them during the games).  Loading up with caffeine can interfere with efforts to get to sleep later on.
  • Drink Alcohol in Moderation — Alcoholic drinks and sports seem to go together, but too many drinks can also disrupt your sleep.
  • Take a Day Off — Are you a huge fan?  Maybe you’re a superfan?  If you HAVE to stay up for that late game, take the next day off of work or arrange it so you can go in late, and thus sleep a little later.
  • Repay “Sleep Debt” — If you stay up late for a couple of nights, you’ll accrue what’s called “sleep debt.”  Basically, it means you’ve needed more sleep than you’ve gotten.  You can recover, but it can’t be done with one marathon snooze.  If you’ve lost sleep every night for a week or two, it will take an extra hour or so every night for a week or two to make it up.

Have a sleep question you’ve always wanted answered?  Contact us and we may answer it in an upcoming “Ask Happy Dan” or “Ask the ASA”!