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In contrast to just feeling tired, how likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? (Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you.) Use the following sleep test scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = Would never doze
1 = Slight chance of dozing
2 = Moderate chance of dozing
3 = High chance of dozing

Your Situation:

Sitting and Reading

Watching Television

Sitting inactive in a public place

As a car passenger for 1 hour, no break

Lying down to rest in the afternoon

Sitting and talking to someone

Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol

In a car stopped in traffic

    

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Sleep and Golf

Golfers and SleepA recent article in the New York Times, "A Lift Golfers Can Get With Their Eyes Closed" discussed the importance of sleep for professional golfers. The main theme dealt with managing “jet lag” or one’s circadian sleep rhythm. (Circadian rhythm refers to our internal clock that is set to external or environmental cues that distinguish daytime from night.) Most of us are familiar with the fatigue (jet lag) associated with travelling across many time zones. In addition, this distant travel can interrupt our normal sleep and wake times. Ideally, as night approaches, the lack of light tells our body that it is time for sleep. Conversely, bright light in the morning indicates that it is time for wake and activity. Sleep disturbances can occur when there is a mismatch between our internal clock and the environment. For example, a golfer that has to travel across the world for a tournament may arrive at a time that his body is programmed to sleep, yet it is daytime at the destination. Many of us are familiar with this feeling as we travel for work and vacation. Often times, it may take a few days to get back to our normal performance. This may not be acceptable for a professional athlete.

The article stressed that while many athletes are obsessed with their diet and exercise, often sleep is ignored. This can pose a problem since sleep consumes about a third of our lives. This message is important to the general public as well. Better sleep often dictates better performance. The sleep literature is replete with articles discussing the negative outcomes associated with other forms of disrupted sleep---insomnia, sleep deprivation and sleep apnea. Furthermore, treatment of these disorders often improves daytime cognitive and behavioral performance.

In my opinion, the take-home point from the article is that sleep is critical to performance, be it….athletic, academic or work. Often we emulate the power drinks, sneakers, supplements and exercise routines of our sports superstars. Perhaps, it’s time to emulate the proper sleep habits of golfers, as well.