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How the San Francisco Giants Slept Their Way to Another World Series Championship

4 November 2014

Allison read many articles about Dr. William (Chris) Winter’s advice for the San Francisco Giants and celebrated another victory for good sleep hygiene.

Tags: allison read, balance, baseball, chris winter, health care, healthcare, sleep

I teach and write about the importance of sleep. A lot. I even asked my 10-year old nephew to blog about what he's learned about sleep. It’s one of the best things we can do to improve performance in every aspect of our lives and yet many of us have a hard time making a good night’s sleep a priority.

In my past sleep posts, you’ll find medical research about why sleep matters so much as well as advice about how to make good sleep hygiene choices like putting yourself to bed with a peaceful sleep ritual, getting technology and TV out of the bedroom, going to bed at the same time most nights, having a strategy for what to do when you wake up and can’t back to sleep, and eliminating caffeine after 10:00am or altogether if necessary. You’ll also discover several references to my go-to sleep professional, Dr. William (Chris) Winter, MD.

I write about sleep more than I write about my love of baseball, but baseball gets pretty good coverage in my Tuesday blog posts, too. Therefore, I was pretty excited when sleep, baseball, and Chris got a lot of press last month.

Chris advises several professional sports teams now, but the San Francisco Giants were his first pro team. The Giants have been relying on his advice since 2010 and they believe it’s no coincidence that they’ve won the World Series three of the last five years.

In this article, the Giants credit Chris with sleep hygiene suggestions like paying for everyone to stay another night in Kansas City and flying home the next morning rather than the norm of getting on a plane as soon as the game is over. In that same article, you’ll also find information about a study Chris led that, “…linked fatigue and sleep to performance and career longevity in baseball players.” (Just in case you need more medical proof that sleep matters.) After the AP wrote their article, USA Today, FOX News and many other media outlets spread the word about Chris' work.

As a lifetime Atlanta Braves fan, it was painful to learn the following 2010 story in Nick Rippington’s post. “The Giants, though, came up with the new approach in the Divisional Series that year after they had thrown away a 4-0 lead at home to Atlanta Braves and wearily gone down in the 11th inning, the game finishing at 10.30pm Pacific Time. Manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean took the drastic step of consulting sleep specialist Dr William (Chris) Winter in a bid to regroup and re-energise…. ‘Chris told us to leave immediately after that game—get out of there that night, no matter how tired we were so the players could acclimatize to the east coast.’ Following Winter's advice, the Giants won the next two in Atlanta and eventually won the franchise’s first World Series Championship since moving to California from New York in 1958."

In this Sports Illustrated article, you’ll find out how Chris recommends that, “…an athlete trying to quickly acclimate to a new locale can time meals to trick his body into thinking he’s still at home.” At this point you may be thinking, “But this is all about dealing with jetlag and I don’t fly that much.” However, what you’ll discover if you follow Chris’ blog on The Huffington Post is that there are better choices ALL of us can make to help us sleep better. I’m just hoping three World Series rings might convince you this sleep stuff is the real deal!


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