The Playmaker Project

New Revolutionary Treatment to Improve Athlete Performance


GOAL:  The Goal of this article is to inform you of the breakthrough new revolutionary miracle treatment that you can use to improve your sports training and athletic performance.  Note: I am writing this article like I am speaking to the athlete but if you are a coach, sports performance professional, or just someone who is interested in optimizing their performance then you will enjoy this article as well.

Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, the Director of its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, and a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard University.

He has published over 100 scientific studies and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nova, BBC News, and NPR’s Science Friday.  He is one of the world’s leading neuroscientists and sleep experts.

He’s a professor at UC Berkeley (and former professor at Harvard) who has spent decades studying why we sleep and how to, unlock the power of sleep and dreams.  I am going to let him share with you the new miracle treatment to improve athletic performance in a quote from his book Why We Sleep,


Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and strokes, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?

While it may sound hyperbolic, nothing about this fictitious advertisement would be inaccurate. If this were a drug, many people will be disbelieving. Those who were convinced would pay large sums of money for even the smallest dose. Should clinical trials back up the claims, share prices of the pharmaceutical company that invented the drug would skyrocket.

Of course, the ad is not describing some miracle new tincture or a cure-all wonder drug, but rather the proven benefits of a full night of sleep. The evidence supporting these claims have been documented in more than 17,000 well-scrutinized and scientific reports to date. As for the prescription cost, well, there isn’t one. It’s free. Yet all too often, we shun the nightly invitations to receive our full dose of this all-natural remedy–with terrible consequences.

Failed by the lack of public education, most of us do not realize how remarkable a panacea sleep truly is.”

I love it when the fundamentals are pitched like a miracle pill.  Remember, greatness is consistency on the fundamentals.  For athletes I consider the fundamentals to be sleep, training, practice, nutrition, focus, and self-awareness.


Cheri Mah is a performance scientist who for the last couple of years has worked with the Golden State Warriors.  One of her most widely cited studies was published in 2011. Mah had eleven members of the Stanford basketball team wear sleep sensors for two weeks. She recorded their normal sleep patterns—they averaged just more than six and a half hours each night—along with statistics on sprints, free throws, and three-point shots. Then, for five to seven weeks, she had them aim for a minimum of ten hours in bed each night, spending as much of the time as possible asleep (‘sleep extension,’ as it’s called). The players’ sleep average went up to eight and a half hours, and the increases in performance were dramatic. Sprint times were .7 seconds faster, free-throw shooting went up 9 percent, and three-point shooting increased 9.2 percent. That’s an amazing difference for such elite athletes— and all achieved just by sleeping more.

Are any of you interested in shaving nearly a second off your sprint time or increasing your performance in any category by nearly 10 percent?  Sounds like a miracle treatment to me.  The study also had participants report their mood, which improved significantly as well.


1) We Don’t Value It:  We live in a society that does not value sleep.  When it comes to athlete training and sports training sleep gets mentioned but I never hear about steps and protocols athletes can take to optimize their sleep.

2) Inconsistency:  Remember greatness is consistency on the fundamentals.  We use this LeBron James quote all the time and I am going to drop it in again here.  Structure and consistency create perfection.  You want to go to bed at a certain time every day, and you want to have a specific bedtime ritual.

3) Screens:  90% of athletes in training expose themselves to blue light before bed and they diminish their melatonin by 50% which delays the onset of sleep and the onset of deep sleep and REM sleep.  Blowing yourself up with blue light before bed is kinda like Superman soaking in a kryptonite salt bath before bed.  Not only does the blue light diminish your melatonin, but it also spikes up your cortisol.  Your cortisol is already spiked from sports training, you don’t need to jack it up more.

4) Anxiety:  Hard to get to sleep when you feel anxious.  With the pandemic still going on and the fear-mongering from the 24-hour news cycle, athletes are feeling more anxious than ever.

5) Caffeine:  Caffeine has a 6-hour half-life.  So if you have 200 mg of caffeine in a coffee or energy drink at 3 pm, then 100mg of that caffeine is still going to be flowing through your system at 9 pm.  That most definitely impacts the quality of sleep

6) Alcohol and Sleeping Pills:  When you do your sports training, your athlete training, what is your goal?  Why do you grind so hard?

You grind so hard of course because you want to improve you want to create a specific adaptation that will help you reach your goals.  A lot of this adaptation happens in deep sleep and REM sleep.  Alcohol and sleeping pills prevent the body from getting into those phases of the sleep cycle.  Really not good.

7) Tobacco:  Tobacco is a stimulant, not going to help you sleep.  Nuff said.

8) Eating too Late:  This is the most challenging one for me, and I know it is really challenging for a lot of athletes because you have practice and games in the evening and of course you are hungry afterward.

In this context though, eating too late negatively impacts the quality of sleep.  This is because after we eat something our digestive system needs to go to work.  Our body’s internal systems put their effort into digestion rather than restoration and recovery.  Ideally, you want to be done eating at least 2 hours before bed.  If you want to really optimize your recovery and restoration systems then you want to stop eating 4 hours before bed.  Is that challenging? Yes.  Is it doable? Yes.

How many of the above 8 reasons impact you?



Sleep is an opportunity to relax every part of your body.  As an athlete, you consistently breaking down your body through negative and unintentional micro-traumas.  You want to work hard to find ways to rebuild your body through optimal rest and recovery.  My general discipline and sleep pattern is to sleep from 8 pm to 4 am.  The biggest benefit of sleep is that it is uninterrupted restoration.

If you don’t get the right amount then our decision-making is lowered, and the adaptation that we desire through training and practice is reduced.  It impacts your daily energy and performance.


1) Make your Sleep a PRIORITY: Train your Recovery.  As an athlete, your body is your vehicle to accomplishing what you want to accomplish.  Take the time to take care of that F-1 Race Car!

Strive to go to bed at the same time every night: This gets your body in a daily rhythm which is a really good thing.  Remember, structure and consistency create perfection.

Stay away from alcohol, sleeping pills, and tobacco:  All 3 of these things DRAMATICALLY impact the quality of your sleep.  You put all of that hard work into training, you don’t want to waste by not getting the adaptation that you want.

Stay away from Blue Light 2 Hours before bed:  Blue light from screens close to bedtime reduces our melatonin production by 50% and spikes our cortisol.  Not good and not good.

Pay Attention to your Sleep Environment:  Make your bedroom specifically used for sleeping.  Keep the electronics out.  Don’t make it a tech cave

Temperature Matters:  Stay cool—the ideal temperature for your room should be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  You want your room cold, dark, and quiet as possible.


I absolutely love it when some of the smartest minds and teachers in the World say that one of the biggest levers, we can pull to improve our sports training and athlete performance is simple and free.  BUT! Just because it’s simple and free does not mean that optimizing sleep is easy.  Remember we live in a World that does not value sleep.  Be Exceptional, Be Different, prioritize your Sleep.

I Believe in your Greatness,
Coach Jackson

Coach Jackson
Coach Jackson
Master’s Degrees in Education (Specializing in the Work of Abraham Maslow and Human Potential) and an MBA in International Leadership and Coaching. He is a N.A.S.E certified Speed and Explosion Specialist and Optimize Coach.
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