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Legal (and free) performance enhancement

Justin Verlander, a pitcher for the Houston Astros, throws a fastball well over 90 miles an hour. He’s an eight-time All-Star, winner of the 2011 American League M.V.P. and Cy Young Awards, and he helped pitch his team to a Word Series title in 2017.

One of his self-professed secrets to his success? Sleep. Verlander regularly sleeps as many as 10 hours a night. And he so vocally champions others doing the same that he’s become his teammates’ unofficial sleep consultant, as profiled here. It certainly seems like he’s onto something–even beyond his personal performance. When the team’s third baseman took Verlander’s advice and started sleeping more, he went from struggling to get on base to hitting 30 home runs.

Sometimes Verlander sleeps more than 10 hours. Sometimes, less. He listens to his body and lets it tell him how much sleep he needs.

Neomi Shah, a sleep medicine doctor at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York who’s quoted in the article, says this about sleep:

“It’s a legal way to improve athletic performance. . .and it goes beyond it, too, in terms of better well-being and an ability to make decisions.”

If it has that effect on a professional athlete, what effect could it have on you?