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Published on March 25, 2013

Eagles Coach Chip Kelly Is A Big Believer In Sleep

We have an image of professional football players as the toughest people in the world. They’re elite athletes, rippling with muscle and willing to slam into each other at terrifying speeds.

They’re tougher than you and me; super humans, seemingly indestructible.

So it’s hard to think that these monstrous men need to make sure they’re snug and cozy in their beds at a reasonable hour every night.

But that’s exactly what new Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants.

“An elite athlete needs between 10-12 hours a night,” the coach told reporters last week.

Not six. Not seven. Not eight, which many of us with busy work-a-day lives view as an unattainable luxury. Ten to 12! That’s what Kelly says his players need in order to be at their athletic best.

(Of course, as someone pointed out, Kelly may have a difficult time getting his rich 20-something employees to go to bed at a reasonable hour.)

Kelly isn’t just saying he wants his players to sleep because he’s coddling them, or because he’s trying to promote a culture of sloth. He’s saying it because he knows the science behind sleep – he’s very forward-thinking on sports science, and the new coach has even hired a sports science coordinator to make sure he is optimizing the ability of his team.

Elite athletes – such as professional football players – are working their bodies harder than most of us. They are also held to a much higher standard – being a tenth of a second slow or a couple of inches off is the difference between winning and losing, between an eight-figure contract and being unemployed. So it’s a really big deal.

And Coach Kelly knows that it’s critical that his players rest their bodies and brains. Research shows that sleep-deprived people’s brains actually shut down, and chronic lack of sleep mirrors the symptoms of ADHD. And for athletes who are putting their muscles through workouts that would crush most of us, allowing those muscles recovery time is critical if they’re going to perform at a high level on Sundays.

In all likelihood, you are not working as hard physically as the Eagles’ players. But there is a lesson here for us mere mortals: You need your sleep.

For more information, visit Crozer-Keystone’s website at http://sleepcenters.crozerkeystone.org. Crozer-Keystone offers a multidisciplinary approach to the identification and treatment of all types of adult and pediatric sleep disorders. To make an appointment, visit our website or call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703).

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