Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sleep Type Predicts Day and Night Batting Averages of Major League Baseball Players

It’s summer and baseball is one our favorite pastimes. Would you believe the sleep type of a major league baseball player actually predicts his day and night batting average? Sure enough, a study of 16 players from seven MLB teams (Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and Toronto Blue Jays) indicate that “morning type” players—those who prefer to go to bed early and wake up early—had a higher batting average as compared to “evening type” players—those who prefer to stay up late and wake up late—in games that started before 2 pm. But, evening types had a higher batting average than morning types in games that started between 2 pm and 7:59 pm.

According to Dr. W. Christopher Winter, the principal investigator for the study and the medical Director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, “Our data, though not statistically significant due to low subject numbers, clearly shows a trend toward morning type batters hitting progressively worse as the day becomes later, and the evening type batters showing the opposite trend.”

So, a player’s sleep preference could actually impact his batting average. Wow.

The results from this study could potentially create a new way to evaluate athletic talent. Could this spill over into other professional sports? Say basketball and football. What about tennis and golf?

Pretty interesting. To read the article recently published in Sleep Review magazine, click here.