Late-night tweets damage NBA performance

Late-night phone use can damage sleep quality

Late-night phone use can damage sleep quality

A US study has found that NBA players who tweet late at night perform worse in games the next day.

Researchers at Stony Brook University analysed Twitter account activity from 112 verified NBA players and merged it with basketball statistics from Yahoo Sports.

In total, more than 30,000 tweets across seven basketball seasons from 2009 to 2016 were analysed. Players who tweeted late at night (defined as between 11 pm and 7am) were found to score about 1 point less and their shooting accuracy dropped 2.5% compared to when they did not.

They also took fewer shots and had fewer rebounds, steals and blocks. This was not a dig at Twitter specifically - the platform was used as a means of identifying lack of sleep.

Studies have previously shown that blue light emitted from electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, can impair sleep quality.

Jason J. Jones, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook, explained: “Using late-night tweeting activity as a proxy for being up late, we interpret these data to show that basketball skills are impaired after getting less sleep.

“While experimental studies have shown the impact of sleep deprivation on performance, this study uses big data to provide interpretable results on real-world performance of basketball players.

“Twitter is currently an untapped resource for late-night behavior data that can be used as a proxy for not sleeping,” said Jones. “We hope this will encourage further studies making use of time-stamped online behavior to study the effects of sleep deprivation on real-world performance.”

Jones explained that most of the statistical changes could be put down to the fact that late-night tweeters were playing fewer minutes. On average, players had two minutes less playing time following late-night tweeting.

Study co-author Lauren Hale, Professor of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine in the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook, added: “Our results demonstrate a broader phenomenon: to perform at your personal best, you should get a full night of sleep.”

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