Study: Stanford players need more sleep

Either Stanford players have a great reason to no longer set their alarm clocks, or coach Johnny Dawkins is justified in instituting a strict curfew.

Eleven of the players participated in a study to test how extended amounts of sleep can affect their performance on the court. The study found that getting more sleep made them better shooters, according to this month's issue of Sleep:

Conclusions: Improvements in specific measures of basketball performance after sleep extension indicate that optimal sleep is likely beneficial in reaching peak athletic performance.

The players had their performances measured and compared after getting as much sleep as they normally would and also after a five to seven week period in which they were asked to get at least 10 hours of sleep in bed each night.

The study found after the players went through their drills that after getting extensive amounts of sleep, they ran faster time sprints, made nine percent more of their free throw and 3-point attempts, and were more energetic during games and practices.

And quite humorously, the study also showed that the players weren't exactly accurate in recording how much sleep they were actually getting.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

It's worth noting that the players probably didn't get as much sleep as they thought. They estimated that they got about 10 1/2 hours every night, but all of them wore devices on their wrists that measured their sleep time by monitoring their movements. According to the devices, the players averaged about 6 hours and 45 minutes of sleep during the first four weeks of the study and 8 1/2 hours during the next five to seven weeks.

Stanford is facing an important year in Dawkins' fourth season. He has yet to lead the Cardinal to an upper-half finish in the Pac-10 and was awarded a two-year extension Wednesday.

The program needs a boost of energy, and now his players know that getting their Z's can only help.