The Impact of Playoffs on Sleep
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There’s almost no better feeling in the world than watching your home team compete in the playoffs. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, the excitement of the late-season games is what sports fans live for. It gives us something to look forward to, breaks up the monotony of ordinary life, and ultimately lets us escape the day-to-day problems we all deal with.
But there is a flip-side to the cheering and celebrating that comes along with the elation of the playoffs. Games can often run quite late in the evening; and between extra innings and sudden-death overtime, it may be that your head hits the pillow a whole lot later than normal. This can mean some super drowsy days at the office.
How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Us?
So, what are the effects of those late nights on our ability to properly live our lives? Working hours are steadily increasing, along with an emphasis on active leisure. Furthermore, in certain jobs, people face additional sleep restriction. Some professions like health care, transportation and security require people to work at night. In such fields, the effect of acute total sleep deprivation on performance is severe. Moreover, people tend to stretch their capacity and compromise their nightly sleep, thus becoming chronically sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation (SD) studies have been designed to evaluate the effects of sleep loss. In the case of acute total SD protocols, the test subjects are kept awake continuously, generally for 24 to 72 hours. In chronic partial SD, individuals are permitted limited sleep time over the course of several consecutive nights. While chronic sleep restriction is more certainly more typical in the average population and hence offers a more accurate representation of real life conditions, total SD has been far more comprehensively studied.
When considering the impact of sleep loss, the difference between partial and total SD is essential. Although each condition can induce numerous adverse effects — including impairments in cognitive performance — the underlying mechanisms seem to be fairly different. First of all, total SD impairs working memory and attention, but it also affects other functions, such as decision-making and long-term memory. Partial SD has been found to impact attention, specifically vigilance.
Die-Hard Sports Fans Will Sacrifice Sleep for Their Teams
In 2013, the Boston Red Sox made history by capturing the franchise’s eighth World Series championship overall, and their third in ten years. As glorious as it was for the residents of Boston, the impact that the late nights of revelry had on fans was well documented. An article that was written at the time in the Boston Globe stated that “Red Sox Nation has become Zombie Nation.”
As studies such as the one cited above have demonstrated, this can have serious consequences. Sleep-deprived people are not only irritable, but also report eating poorly, skipping exercise, and becoming easily distracted. Additionally, they are more likely to behave unethically. Workplace injuries tend to be more severe and are also more widespread.
But this type of sports fanaticism is not limited to Americans alone. For instance, it’s a known fact that Canadians love hockey. In 2017, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a respectable playoff run after many years of having relatively weak teams. Global News published an article at the time that reported one in eight Canadians miss sleep during the playoffs, and that in the city of Toronto the number is even higher, at 19 percent.
The same article mentioned a study that showed over half of Canadians said they’d feel stressed about their team contending in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Conversely, stress isn’t the only health impact of hockey playoffs on Canadian fans. One in five people in Ottawa drink more alcohol if their team is in the playoffs, and one in seven Edmontonians do the same, the survey suggested.
No one is advocating that you forgo the experience of watching your favourite sports team compete for the ultimate glory. The truth is, there are measures that you can take to mitigate the impact of SD. One such tactic is to maximize the quality of your sleep, by ensuring that your bed is comfortable and conducive to a good night’s rest.
This would be a suitable reason to consider investing in a memory foam mattress. Memory foam’s high owner satisfaction rating is no accident. Its unique properties conform to your body, relieving pressure points. Motion transfer is minimized, so your partner’s movements don’t disturb you. Memory foam is also more durable, providing years of reliable comfort better sleep.
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