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Skipping Sleep to Watch Sports Is the Real March Madness
  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted March 6, 2020

Skipping Sleep to Watch Sports Is the Real March Madness

No matter whether your favorite team wins or loses, March Madness will likely put a slam dunk on your sleep habits.

For many Americans, staying up late to watch NCAA basketball tournament games is a much-anticipated annual rite. But the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) warns that those late-night games can cause problems.

"A lack of sleep can lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling emotions and more," AASM president Dr. Kelly Carden said in an academy news release.

An AASM survey found that 58% of Americans said they stayed up past their bedtime to watch sports, including 72% of men.

"It's important to ensure sleep is a priority -- even if there is a great game on -- because getting healthy sleep on a regular basis positively impacts health, well-being and performance," Carden explained.

And, sleep isn't only important for fans. Athletes who get more sleep perform better, according to the AASM.

A 2011 study published in the journal Sleep found that when members of Stanford University men's basketball team got more sleep, their shooting accuracy improved, with both free throw percentage and 3-point shots increasing by 9%.

The players also improved their average sprint time.

This year's tournament begins March 15 and concludes April 6 with the national championship game in Atlanta.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on sleep deprivation and deficiency.

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, March 3, 2020
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