A study on athletes conducted by a friend of SleepBetter.org has officially been published. The study, conducted by Stanford researcher Cheri Mah (who was interviewed earlier this year for a story on the sleep needs of Super Bowl hopefuls), was published in the journal Sleep this month.
While it is common knowledge that a good night’s rest leads to a more productive and all around easier next day, Ms. Mah’s study indicates that it has even more benefits for athletes. To conduct this study 11 male students from Stanford University’s varsity basketball team were asked to change their sleep schedule for up to seven weeks. In the beginning the players were averaging about six hours per night. As the study continued, players slept a few more hours each week until they reached the goal of about 8 to 10 hours per night.
In the end it was found that different elements of their athletic performance had improved due to the additional rest. Speed during sprints improved from 16.2 seconds to 15.5 seconds. The most dramatic change was basketball shooting accuracy, which increased by 9% in both free throws and three pointers.