Stanford Professor Talks Sleep Deprivation Among Athletes
William Dement wakes up students who doze in his class (there's at least one every day) by targeting them with a squirt gun, often after classmates in a lecture hall of 300 have pointed the person out. The individual must then stand and shout, "Drowsiness is red alert." It's a mantra for Dement, a Stanford University professor, author of The Promise of Sleep and founder of the school's Sleep Disorders Clinic & Research Center, the world's first sleep laboratory. He actually was instrumental in getting Stanford to eliminate all 8 a.m. classes in an effort to better match students' sleep patterns. Occasionally, Dement's ongoing research has extended into the effects of sleep deprivation on athletic performance. By skill testing some 300 varsity athletes at Stanford, he has found that an athlete's best often comes after sufficient rest. Paul Steinbach asked Dement to look beyond Xs and Os and explain how games might hinge on Zs.
Q: Why has your work on sleep and sports been so limited?
Q: Do successful, highly driven people tend to think they can get by with less sleep than the average person?
Q: Is there any advice that you would pass along to coaches?
Q: Coaches are going to take advantage of every minute they're allowed to be in front of their teams, aren't they?
Q: How much of a performance difference does more sleep actually make?
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