Scientists from the University of Birmingham have
established that athletic performance varies greatly over the
course of the day, and that the best time for a particular
sportsman is determined by whether they are an early bird or a
night owl.



Usain Bolt is known, not only for
his record breaking success, but also for regularly partying late
into the night, showing that he is a night owl. People might
attribute a sprinters success by their determination or physical
prowess, but has anyone thought that Usain Bolt's winning edge may
come from the fact that the mens 100m final takes place in the

The research conducted by University
of Birmingham scientists studied a group of hockey players and
tested what sort of sleepers they were, grouping them into three
categories; early birds, normal and night owls. The team performed
a "beep" test at different times of the day. The first test, at
10am, was three hours after the early birds would normally wake,
but only 15 minutes after the average wake up time for night

Over several days, the test was
carried out at different times to establish when each sleep type
was at their peak performance. For early birds, the best result was
at 12.30pm, for average sleepers it was 4pm and for night owls, the
peak performance time was 7.45pm - prime time for 100m sprint

What was most interesting was that
while early risers and normal athletes had only a modest difference
in performance compared to their normal time, for late risers the
difference between their best and worst performance was 26 per

When you go to the gym do you find
that you have more energy and perform better in the morning or the
evening? What are your thoughts on this article? Let us know on our
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