In Major League Baseball (MLB), every team is seeking their competitive advantage. With the longest season in professional sports, MLB players are particularly subject to fatigue over the course of a season, and this is part of the reason why clubs are turning to sleep experts to help them protect their players from poor sleep that can drain energy and impact judgment and reaction time.
Sleep Apnea and Baseball
Because of their stature, baseball players tend to be less at risk for sleep apnea than football players. The lack of head trauma may also account for less frequent sleep apnea in retired baseball players. But sometimes players have sleep apnea and it can make a significant impact on their skills.
Mike Napoli of the Boston Red Sox is probably the most famous case of sleep apnea in baseball. His chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness was so bad, he had a room set aside at the stadium so he could nap before games or during practice.
But like many sufferers, Napoli didn’t suspect that his tiredness was anything serious. He didn’t decide to get it checked out until he started dozing off while driving. That’s when he learned he had sleep apnea, and probably had had it for his entire professional career. He tried CPAP, oral appliances, and eventually surgery. It’s too early in the season to know whether the surgery was a success, but so far 2015 doesn’t seem to be going too well for Napoli.
The Circadian Advantage
Another part of the sleep puzzle that teams are focused on is the circadian advantage. Sleep doctors say that when teams go on the road to play in another time zone, they are at a disadvantage. The club that experiences this perhaps the most acutely is the Colorado Rockies, which is one of only two teams in the Mountain Time Zone. Whenever they travel, they are going to another time zone, unless they are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks.
To attempt to combat this, the Rockies have changed their travel schedule to try to spend a day in the away city before playing there whenever possible.
But sleep treatment doesn’t have to be just for the big leagues. No matter what level you’re competing at, sleep apnea could be sapping your performance. If you are looking to learn more about sleep apnea and treatment options, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.