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Sleep And Poker Performance

How Does Sleep Affect Performance In Poker?

People who sleep during the day get an average of less sleep and less time spent in REM sleep. This suggests that it is probably beneficial to go sleep at night time instead of in the early hours of the morning, or daytime. A study documents workers on night shift, they were slower on average and made much more mistakes than their daytime counterparts. There is also clear evidence that people are sleepier and think less clearly when working at night versus working at day. Not only will you be more happy and making better decisions playing poker during the day, but you will also cut your risk of depression by being asleep at night instead of awake. There is overwhelming evidence that night shift workers have lower levels of concentration and energy during work. It is better to avoid these situations in poker, as you need all the focus you can get. Having less concentration in a poker game would greatly increase your chance of staying on tilt for when the inevitable tilt inducing situations arrive (talked more about in a previous article). If you have a choice, you should always gravitate towards playing poker during the day as your first choice. Playing until five, six, seven or even eight in the morning is a recipe for disaster.

How Much Sleep Should We Get?

A lot of online articles will tell you that the recommended length of sleep is an average of eight hours. Every article will vary slightly on this number. On the other hand the actual research says the longest living people get seven hours of sleep per night. When you start to venture outside of the six to eight hour ranges, then that is when negative health consequences start to come in, along with the increased likelihood of several severe diseases.


Next time you are thinking about sacrificing sleep to play poker, think again.

Bibliography Hysing, M., Pallesen, S., Stormark, K. M., Jakobsen, R., Lundervold, A. J., & Sivertsen, B. (2015). Sleep and use of electronic devices in adolescence: results from a large population-based study. BMJ open, 5(1), e006748.

Kripke, D. F., Garfinkel, L., Wingard, D. L., Klauber, M. R., & Marler, M. R. (2002). Mortality associated with sleep duration and insomnia. Archives of general psychiatry, 59(2), 131-136.

Smith-Coggins, R., Rosekind, M. R., Hurd, S., & Buccino, K. R. (1994). Relationship of day versus night sleep to physician performance and mood. Annals of emergency medicine, 24(5), 928-934.

Syrek, C. J., & Antoni, C. H. (2014). Unfinished tasks foster rumination and impair sleeping—Particularly if leaders have high performance expectations. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(4), 490.

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