Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Good Sleep, Good Performance, Good Health

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers spent the summer tearing through sleep studies-some of them commissioned by the U.S. military-looking for ways they might help their players improve their performance by sleeping more like teenagers. "We've looked at quite a few of them," said San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh.

And after sleep specialists visited the Jets earlier this year, linebacker Bryan Thomas said the team has made an extreme effort to make sure everyone is sleeping properly. This includes pre-setting all temperatures in the team hotel rooms to the sleep-therapy recommended 68 degrees and recommending players sleep in pitch-black rooms.

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, Jim's brother, has begun to take measures to combat jetlag on long trips: Before the Ravens fly west to play San Diego on Nov. 25, their plan is to stay at home but simply start practices and meetings later until they are operating on West Coast-time while in Baltimore.  

Of the four Pacific-time teams, three of them lost more than 75% of the time over the past decade when playing 1 p.m. games on the East Coast.


Physical performance is mental performance is emotional performance.  They are all powered by the same fuels and the same physiology and each affects the other.  What you eat affects how you sleep, and how you sleep affects what hormones your body makes, and what hormones your body makes has an effect on what your body does with what you eat.

This is a sad reality for a fitness coach, because if theres one thing that's harder for folks to fix than their eating habits, it's their sleeping habits.

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