NBA players lose games when they stay up late — and so will you

With the 2017 NBA Finals now in full swing and Game 3 scheduled for tomorrow, it’s crucial for the basketball players to get as much sleep as possible so they can play harder than ever on the court.

That means giving up a favorite athletic hobby: staying up late to talk smack on Twitter.

Unsurprisingly, when NBA players stay up late to send a few tweets, their performance suffers the next day. Early findings from a new study from researchers at Stony Brook University show that players tweeting — specifically between 11 pm the night before a game to 7 am the day of — perform worse on the court.

The researchers that late-night tweeting led the athletes to score approximately one less point on average in the following games. They also played 2 minutes fewer on average, and had less rebounds, blocks and steals, among other conclusions. 

They also found that the accuracy of players’ throws dipped 1.7 percentage points, unlike during games where they didn’t post on Twitter at a late time beforehand.

For the study, the Stony Brook research team took a look at two public databases, Yahoo Sports basketball statistics, and what 112 players did on Twitter. They examined what happened during games in players’ home time zones (just in case switching zones had an effect). Researchers specifically looked at the habits of players who participated in 7 seasons (2009-2016), and more than a whopping 30,000 tweets.

The information was showcased at the SLEEP 2017 meeting yesterday in Boston, and the abstract has been published in a web supplement of Sleep.

Study co-author Lauren Hale, PhD, Professor of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine in the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University, commented on the research in a statement. 

“Our findings are relevant beyond just sports science research…Our results demonstrate a broader phenomenon: to perform at your personal best, you should get a full night of sleep,” Hale said. 

Why late nights on social media might not be the best idea

Of course, you don’t have to be an NBA player to know that getting overinvested on social media is a bad idea if you should be getting some sleep instead. There’s ample evidence, for instance, that using Facebook is bad for your mental health.

With the enormous pressure to perform in front of huge crowds at the game and tuning in on TV, it makes sense that NBA players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose have reportedly relied on naps as a source of rejuvenation. With the amount of sleep that athletes require to perform at top levels, tweeting at crazy hours probably doesn’t help them stay on track.

James reportedly tries to get 8-9 hours of sleep per night, and told CBS Sports in 2016 about how naps are part of his routine.

“This may sound weird to you…but for my 13-year career, I’ve taken a nap for the most part every day — and for sure on game days,” James told the media outlet.

It’s clear that how you fare at work is often dictated by how much sleep you get the night before. You may not be judged by your dunks at work, but you will be judged by how awake you are.