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Want to be like Mike? Take a nap on game day

Enjoy an afternoon siesta? Then you've got something in common with professional basketball players, who, as the New York Times reports today, make naps a "key part" of their game days:

...A great majority of N.B.A. players... swear by their pregame nap. Most are interested in its restorative benefits, although a few may just be trying to counter boredom. Whatever the reason, balls stop bouncing and shoes stop screeching every afternoon.

“Everyone in the league office knows not to call players at 3 p.m.,” said Adam Silver, the league’s deputy commissioner. “It’s the player nap.”

The article goes on to discuss the players' crazy schedules - after certain game nights some don't get to bed until 3 AM and are up at 9 or earlier - and the widely held belief that sleep can help with their game. ("It refreshes you, said Phoenix Suns player Grant Hill. "It gets you ready for competition.”) Stanford's Cheri Mah, who does research on sleep and athletic performance, also explains that athletes are susceptible to sleep debt, and that more sports teams should pay attention to the problem:

“Many athletes have optimized physical training and recovering, and nutrition plays a large role,” Mah said. “There really hasn’t been the same emphasis on optimizing sleep and recovery.”

Previously: Stanford expert: Quality, not quantity, of sleep is what counts, Arianna Huffington: Sleep is key to a better life and Companies add nap rooms to perk up workers, boost productivity
Photo by JJ Hall

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