Sleep Helps Predict Pro Athlete's Longevity

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BOSTON (UPI) — Studies involving NFL and MLB players suggest evaluating an athlete’s sleep helps determine his or her professional longevity, U.S. researchers said.

Sleep researcher Dr. W. Christopher Winter said he uncovered a link between a pro athlete’s longevity and the degree of sleepiness experienced in the daytime.

“A team’s ability to accurately judge a prospect or a potential trade in terms of the value they will get for that player is what makes or breaks many professional sport teams,” Winter, a sleep adviser for Men’s Health magazine, said in a statement.

The study involving football looked at 55 randomly selected college players who reached the NFL. It found sleepier athletes had only a 38 percent chance of staying with the team that originally drafted them. In comparison, 56 percent of the less sleepy players were considered a “value pick” because they stayed with their original team.

The baseball study analyzed the sleepiness scale of 40 randomly selected players and found those who reported higher levels of daytime sleepiness had attrition rates of 57 percent to 86 percent, well above the 30 percent to 35 percent major league average.

“Addressing sleepiness in players and correcting the underlying issues causing sleepiness may help to prolong a player’s career,” Winter said.

Winter presented the two studies at Sleep, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston.

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