With only two days remaining until the start of the 100th Grey Cup, rival players on the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts are focussing with even greater intensity on this year’s game and how to win it. That victory could be aided simply by getting enough sleep, one expert suggests.

Remarkably, simple, everyday sleeping patterns could help determine who wins and who loses this year’s coveted CFL prize a according to Vancouver Canucks’ sleep consultant Pat Byrne.

When players sleep, as well as how well and long they slumber, can impact their reaction times and concentration out on the field.

“Typically, people who get eight hours of sleep can perform pretty well,” Byrnes said Friday on CTV’s Canada AM.

The same does not apply to elite athletes.

According to research studies conducted at Stanford University in 2011, athletes who slept 10 hours each night optimized their performance and competitive advantage over their opponents.

As this data revealed, athletes who slept just five hours a night were 78 per cent as effective during competitive events compared to those who got 10 hours of shut-eye.  That additional time boosted performance efficiency to 100 per cent.

“If you don’t sleep well or long enough, your reaction times and concentration times will be slower,” said Byrne.

Indeed, such deprivation could diminish an athlete’s concentration and reaction times by 20 to 30 per cent, he said.

Unfortunately, athletes may not even notice these signs until it is too late.

“These signs are subtle,” said Byrne. “People may not even notice until they’ve missed the ball or are out of the starting blocks.”

To ensure the best sleep, Byrne advised this year’s Grey Cup contenders to maximize their shut-eye.

“If you get up at 8 a.m., work backwards by 10 hours,” he said.

As well, this year’s contenders should be in bed by 10 or 11 p.m. come Saturday night to benefit their performance. 

One final note: Whether you’re a football player or not, turn off your smartphones before you head to bed, said Byrne.

“People get up at night to check their smartphones and play video games. That can wreak havoc on your sleep.”