West Coast NFL Teams Usually Beat East Coast Teams On Monday Night Because Of Our Body's Internal Clock

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Photo: AP

When it comes to placing bets on Monday Night Football matchups gamblers should strongly consider what time zones the two teams play their home games in, according to a recently published book about sleep.In “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep” author David K. Randall mentions a 1990s study conducted by Stanford University researchers found that over a 25-year period West Coast teams had a decided advantage over East Coast teams when they played each other on Monday nights.

When pitted against one another on MNF, the West Coast team won 63 per cent of the time by an average margin of 14 points. In the 37 per cent of the time the East Coast team won, the margin was merely an average of nine points.

MNF games begin at 8:30 eastern time regardless of what teams are playing or where they’re playing, meaning that when a West Coast team is participating its players’ internal clocks all think it’s actually just 5:30 in the afternoon.

Here’s where the advantage comes in, via an excerpt from Deadspin (emphasis ours):

The circadian rhythm alters our body temperature and overall alertness level based on the time of day, a process that will make the body continue to stick to the sun’s schedule even if it is placed in the equivalent of a wine cellar overnight. Without any help from coffee, most of us tend to perk up around nine o’clock in the morning and stay that way until around two in the afternoon, which is when we start thinking about a nap. Around six in the evening, the body gets another shot of energy that keeps us going until about 10 at night. After that, our body temperature starts to fall rapidly, and we get sleepy if we don’t turn to coffee or another form of caffeine.

How exactly does this hurt East Coast teams playing on MNF, well…

Because of the circadian rhythm, which they can’t control, their bodies are past their natural performance peaks before the first quarter ends. By the fourth quarter, the team from the East Coast will be competing close to its equivalent of midnight. Their bodies will be subtly preparing for sleep by taking steps such as lowering the body temperature, slowing the reaction time, and increasing the amount of melatonin in their bloodstream. Athletes on the team from the West Coast, meanwhile, are still competing in the prime time of their circadian cycle.

So go peruse the MNF schedule and place your best accordingly.

Read more from “Dreamland” on Deadspin→

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