Circadian rhythms and athletes’ performance

BA and sleep: OHSU scientist uses Orlando bubble to study effects of travel on basketball performance

Last Friday, Institute sleep scientist, Dr. Andrew McHill, Ph.D., published a new study in Scientific Reports titled, Utilizing the National Basketball’s COVID-19 restart “bubble ” to uncover the impact of travel and circadian disruption on athletic performance. Dr. McHill and co-Author Evan Choy identified an opportunity to study the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) “Orlando bubble” in a natural experiment to study effects of travel on basketball performance.

The study compared rebounding and shooting accuracy during the most recent season within the NBA’s Orlando bubble, where players lived and played in an isolated zone within Walt Disney World facilities to protect its players from COVID-19. The study finds that basketball performance on the court may depend on players getting a good night’s rest and sleep in their own time zones.

This study was featured in OHSU news: “Jet lag affects a part of the brain’s hypothalamus. Even slightly disrupting a player’s circadian clock can make a difference in accuracy and performance. Changing time zones creates a misalignment with your internal clock,” McHill said. McHill and Chinoy found that shooting accuracy in the bubble improved dramatically, and there was more scoring in general.”

To read the full study publication, visit Scientific Reports. Dr. McHill’s study has been featured in various media outlets:

You can learn more about Dr. McHill’s sleep research and the Clinical Physiology and Chronobiology Program at the Institute by visiting the provided links.

The Oregonian NBA Travel and Sleep Study

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