The Night Owls On Biological Clocks And Health – Part 1 of 3
The Night Owls On Biological Clocks And Health. Who’s present to win Sunday’s Super Bowl? It may depend, in part, on which team has the most “night owls,” a budding study suggests. The study found that athletes’ performance throughout a given day can range widely depending on whether they’re naturally early or late risers. The night owls – who typically woke up around 10 AM – reached their athletic elevation at night, while earlier risers were at their best in the early- to mid-afternoon, the researchers said. The findings, published Jan 29, 2015 in the magazine Current Biology, might sound logical.
But past studies, in various sports, have suggested that athletes usually perform best in the evening. What those studies didn’t account for, according to the researchers behind the unknown study, was athletes’ “circadian phenotype” – a fancy term for distinguishing morning larks from night owls. These new findings could have “many practical implications,” said inspect co-author Roland Brandstaetter, a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, in England.
For one, athletes might be able to maximize their competitiveness by changing their sleep habits to fit their training or amuse oneself schedules, he suggested. “What athlete would say no, if they were given a way to increase their performance without the need for any pharmaceuticals?” Brandstaetter said. “All athletes have to follow specific regimes for their fitness, health, regimen and psychology”. Paying attention to the “body clock,” he added, just adds another layer to those regimens.
The study began with 121 young adults involved in competitive-level sports who all kept detailed diaries on their sleep/wake schedules, meals, training times and other always habits. From that group, the researchers picked 20 athletes – average age 20 – with comparable shape levels, all in the same sport: field hockey. One-quarter of the study participants were naturally early birds, getting to bed by 11 PM and rising at 7 AM; one-quarter were more owlish, getting to bed later and rising around 10 AM; and half were somewhere in between – typically waking around 8 AM The athletes then took a series of seemliness tests, at six different points over the track of the day.