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You snooze, You… win?

3 - Published January 14, 2009 by in Lifestyle

Forget the old saying “You snooze, You lose” and take a look at what the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers have been doing this season.  Instead of adjusting their sleep patterns to match their travels, they are revolutionizing the way teams prepare for road trips by keeping their bodies on “Portland time.” 

The Oregonian’s Jason Quick has the story:Travis Outlaw drives on Chicago’s Drew Gooden (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

At the seed of the changes was Dr. Charles Czeisler, a gray-haired professor who works at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and heads Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine. Czeisler, who has also worked with NASA astronauts and the U.S. Olympic Committee, stresses the importance of getting enough sleep each night and keeping the body’s internal clocks in sync by maintaining consistent sleep patterns.

 What could this mean for lacrosse teams looking for an edge?

 Here is an example of how the team adjusted their routine in Orlando to make sure they stay in sync with Portland- time:

The team was encouraged to stay on its Portland time clock, meaning if players normally went to bed at 1 a.m. in Portland, they should try going to bed at 4 a.m. Orlando time. By eliminating the morning shootaround, there was no pressure to get up early.

It was the simplest way to incorporate Czeisler’s theory of maintaining the body’s circadian rhythms, which essentially resets the body’s processes through its own internal clock. By staying on the same sleep cycle, the body would remain balanced.

The early results are in and the Blazers just might lead the charge in using a good night’s rest as a competitive advantage in sports.  Czeisler’s research has claimed that keeping a normal sleep pattern can improve performance “15-20%”.  After going 7-14 last season in games played two or more time zones away, the Blazers are 8-2 this season after last nights 109-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls. 

With the ever increasing amount of travel by MCLA teams across the country, it would be an interesting experiment to test out this kind of disciplined sleep regimen on road trips and especially at Nationals.  Could it really improve performance 20%? Who knows. Would it be worth a try? I sure think so.

The biggest question remains:

Is anyone in the lacrosse world crazy enough to give this a try?

For more information on the relationships between sleep, health and performance, check out the Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine at www.understandingsleep.org

Homer Simpson: sleep expert