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Published on November 13, 2012

Maybe The Eagles Are Just Sleepy?

Those of us who are diehard Eagles fans are in uncharted territory – for the first time since Andy Reid took over the team in 1999, the Birds have lost five straight games. The search for answers is on, and there are plenty of theories about what’s wrong with the team. How about this one: Maybe they’re just sleepy.

There is solid evidence that a lack of sleep reduces mental agility and performance. And the Eagles, with a 3-6 record and a Keystone Kops-style of play at times, certainly appear like they could be sleep-deprived. Consider this ― at least one other NFL team is focused on getting its players well-rested; earlier this year, the New York Jets announced that they had hired sleep specialists.

Back in September, Jets coach Rex Ryan told the Associated Press , "We've had sleep people come in, talking about how important sleep is, how important it is to get eight hours of it … If we can gain a little advantage, then we're going to look for it."

Granted the Jets haven’t exactly been great this season; maybe the problem is that the Jets play in the City That Never Sleeps.

But let’s talk about that scientific evidence about the importance of sleep to athletic performance. When we’re talking about elite athletes – and if you make it to the pro ranks you’re elite, no matter what they say about you on sports talk radio – little differences are a big deal; shaving a couple tenths of a second off your sprint time can be the difference between the minor leagues and a $50 million contract.

A study that came out last winter showed that NFL and Major League Baseball players who are less sleepy during the day time have more career success. Additionally, if you think the Eagles’ reactions to split-second things that happen on the field aren’t quite quick enough, sleep deprivation could be the culprit. One study showed that a single night of rocky sleep caused a significant decrease in physical reaction times for West Point cadets.

Let’s be honest – young men in their 20s who have some disposable income have been known to stay out a little late on occasion. Maybe the Eagles are having trouble holding onto the football because they aren’t getting enough shuteye on Saturday nights before games.

Then again, maybe they’re just not good enough.

Crozer-Keystone offers a multidisciplinary approach to the identification and treatment of all types of sleep disorders. CKHS also offers skilled care for pediatric sleep disorders through the Crozer-Keystone Pediatric Sleep Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://sleep.crozerkeystone.org or call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703). 

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