Nov. 27, 2013 —
Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine
A new analysis of National Football League results suggests that the body's natural circadian timing gives a performance advantage to West Coast teams when they play East Coast teams at night.
According to the authors, biological rhythms can determine specific times at which peak performance is likely to occur. Previous studies have shown that elements of athletic performance peak in the late afternoon based on intrinsic circadian factors. Therefore, these night games may provide West Coast teams with an athletic advantage by allowing their players to compete at a body clock time that is closer to their athletic peak than their opponents.
"Applying principles of sleep physiology to competitive sports has the clear potential to yield a significant and natural athletic performance advantage," said Smith. "So if you are an athlete looking for a natural performance advantage, or if you just want to improve your health, talk with your doctor about your sleep."