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Do NBA Players Get Enough Sleep?

From rookies entering the league and learning new routines to veterans looking to prolong their careers, everyone needs a good night’s sleep. The WHAT podcast talks to sleep expert Cheri Mah about how quality rest and recovery can improve performance and how hard it is to get a good night sleep.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA season drawing to a close, Tara and Kendyl look back on what turned out to be some of the best and worst off season moves from last summer. We think history is going to be pretty hard on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then we talk about potential 2018 NBA Playoff match ups and the increased possibility of upsets this year.

This week (March 12-17) is National Sleep Awareness Week (recognized each year during the week that Daylight Savings Time starts) and we have the perfect guest. Cheri Mah (@Cheri_Mah) studies sleep and performance of professional and college athletes and she is the person behind the MahScore, a formula that ESPN uses to predict games that are most unwinnable (Schedule Alert games) due to scheduling and travel.

We talked to Cheri about some of the unique challenges for NBA players, how Andre Iguodala attributes his longevity in the league to improved sleep. She gives us some tips that everyone can do to improve their sleep quality and we learn about a cool trick called a Nappacino--listen to this week’s WHAT Podcast to find out more!



2:00 With the benefit of hindsight, what were some of the best and the worst off-season moves, featuring the Boston Celtics, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

9:30 Playoff matches to look forward to including who will the Portland Trail Blazers match up against?

16:00 The high possibility of upsets in the playoffs this year

19:00 Does it matter when teams win because other teams are injured?

23:15 National Sleep Week!

24:45 Cheri Mah and ESPN Schedule Alert Games.

27:30 What are some of the factors that go into identifying schedule alert games

29:00 How she got started studying sleep with elite athletes

31:30 Unique challenges to NBA athletes: crossing time zones, few recovery days, back-to-backs

34:00 How receptive are athletes to adjusting their sleep?

36:00 Age considerations

38:00 Ways that teams and players can regulate their sleep during travel

41:00 How could the schedule be adjusted to improve athlete recovery?

43:15 What can anyone do to improve their sleep?

46:00 The Nappacino

47:10 Andre Iguodala using good sleep to prolong his career.

50:30 Woman who inspires her in her field: Arianna Huffington as an ambassador for quality sleep.

Music used in the episode: “Happy Alley” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Follow Blazer’s Edge on Twitter @blazersedge, WHAT Pod @HoopsAndTalks, Tara @tcbbiggs, and Kendyl @kendylbennett16.

Women’s Hoops And Talks meetup

Tara hosts a monthly meetup for those who identify as women who love basketball and their families and friends. The next meetup is Sunday March 25. We start to gather at 3:30, tip-off is at 4pm. We will watch the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the McMenamins on Broadway in Portland. Join the WHAT Facebook group—and tell your mom!