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The circadian rhythm is our normal internal (24 hour) biologic clock that controls our temperature, hormone levels, and sleep-wake cycle. Traveling across time zones can play havoc with your sleep schedule and can make you function less efficiently. This week, in the journal Sleep, researchers analyzed 40 years of professional football games to determine if traveling across time zones affected their performance and altered the expected outcome of games.

Study authors found that those teams that traveled from the East to the West Coast had a distinct disadvantage. West Coast teams were twice as likely to beat a point spread during evening games against East Coast teams. There was no such advantage for day time games.

Think about it. If an East Coast team is playing a game between 8:00 and 11:30 PM on the West Coast, their player’s internal clock feels as though the true time of the game is 11:00 PM to 2:30 AM. I am sure sport’s betters will be using this information to gage their bets. Of course, the odds makers will likely alter the “spread” on a game once this information becomes more widely disseminated.

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