The winner of this year’s Super Bowl could depend on the number of “night owls” on the team, according to a study in the journal Current Biology. Researchers at the University of Birmingham conducted a series of tests on 20 young adults (average age 20) with comparable fitness levels in field hockey. The athletes were categorized as one of the following: “early birds” (going to bed by 11pm and walking up at 7am), “night owls” (getting to bed later and rising around 10am), and those who typically woke up around 8am. One-fourth of the athletes were “early birds,” one-fourth were “night owls,” and the remainder were 8am risers.
The athletes completed a series of fitness tests at six different points over the course of the day, with the “early birds” hitting their peak the earliest at approximately noon, the 8am group in mid-afternoon, and the “night owls” around 8pm. The “night owls” also showed the largest variation in performance over the course of the day. The New England Patriots may be at a disadvantage on Sunday, since West Coast teams have typically had a major advantage over East Coast teams during evening games. However, if the Patriots have many “night owls” on their team, they could have a unique advantage against the Seattle Seahawks.
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