Calgary Sleep Specialist Speaks to NCAA on Significant Health Risk of Chronic Sleep Deprivation in Student Athletes

CALGARY, Sept. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - There's a new "performance enhancement" technique quickly being recognized by athletes, coaches and sports medicine doctors around the world, sleep.

"The NCAA medical staff of the division 1A schools have identified chronic sleep deprivation as a significant health risk to student athletes that also has an effect on academic performance," says Dr. Charles Samuels, medical director at Calgary, Alberta's Centre for Sleep and Human Performance.

Canada's own board certified sleep specialist and human performance researcher, Samuels, is on his way to Dallas, Texas to speak to the NCAA's division 1A Factuly Athletics Representatives (FAR) on this very subject this coming Sunday, Sept. 21.

Mounting research shows that the amount and time of day you sleep effects mood and cognitive function as well as metabolic and cardiovascular function in humans.

Not only is the brain's ability to remember information hindered by sleep deprivation but a person's reaction time and reflexes can slow down when sleep deprived and at specific times of day when the biological clock is at a low. This happens twice every 24 hours.

The biological clock is the body's way of regulating the sleep and wake systems, it is also part of the reason athletes and laymen alike get jet lag. Each time zone further from home causes the circadian rhythm to further desynchronize, fooling the body and brain into thinking it should be asleep or awake when it may be the middle of the day in the new time zone.

The sometimes heavy travel schedules of collegiate athletes mean that not only do they have to contend with jet lag and missed classes but the accumulation of sleep deprivation caused by crossing all those time zones results in travel fatigue.

With this in mind the NCAA's chief medical officer, Dr. Brian Hainline, has invited Samuels to speak to FAR about the effect of sleep disturbance on athletic performance, competition and training, jet lag and travel fatigue, and even academia.

A heavy course load along with training and travel are major contributors to over training, or under recovery.

"If we can teach doctors, coaches and athletes how to successfully work sleep and recovery into the training schedule we can lower the instance of under recovery and keep athletes training at their highest level for longer," says Samuels, who's ultimate goal is to keep young athletes healthier and in the game for longer.

SOURCE: The Centre for Sleep and Human Performance

For further information:

For more information, to schedule an interview with Dr. Samuels please contact: 
Jesse Amery, Centre for Sleep and Human Performance
Ph: 778.927.7975 Email:
Twitter: @CentreforSleep

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The Centre for Sleep and Human Performance

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