Studies Link Fatigue and Sleep to MLB Performance and Career Longevity: Page 2 of 3

Home >> Sleep News >> Studies Link Fatigue and Sleep to MLB Performance and Career Longevity: Page 2 of 3

June 5, 2013

fatigue-mitigating strategies, especially in the middle and late season, for example - can gain a large competitive advantage over their opponent,” he said. “This may have already occurred, as the San Francisco Giants - an outlier in the study in that their plate discipline improved during the 2012 season - went on to win the World Series.”

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP, and Kutscher will present the findings Tuesday, June 4, in Baltimore, Md., at SLEEP 2013, the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Another study found a significant and profound relationship between the sleepiness of a MLB player and his longevity in the league. As baseline self-reported scores of sleepiness on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale increased, the likelihood that a player would be in the league three seasons later decreased linearly. For example, 72 percent of players with a baseline ESS score of 5 were still in the league at the follow-up point, compared with only 39 percent of players with an ESS score of 10 and 14 percent of players with an ESS score of 15.

“We were shocked by how linear the relationship was,” said principal investigator W. Christopher Winter, MD, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Va. “It is a great reminder that sleepiness impairs performance. From a sports perspective, this is incredibly important. What this study shows is that we can use the science of sleep to predict sports performance.”

Prior to the 2010 season, ESS data were collected from a random selection of 80 MLB players representing three teams. This study group doubled the sample size of Winter’s pilot study, which he presented last June at SLEEP 2012. Player status three seasons later was determined on Dec. 16, 2012. A player who was demoted to a lower league, unsigned, or no longer playing was deemed “inactive.”

Winter added that teams easily could implement sleepiness screening as part of their player evaluation system.

“I can envision simple questions about sleep being a part of the battery