Monday, June 14, 2010

Live World Cup coverage causing U.S. viewers to lose sleep

Once every four years the beautiful game interferes with beauty sleep on a worldwide scale. Soccer fans far away from the World Cup host country have no choice but to set their alarm clocks early or stay up late to see their nation’s squad compete on the biggest stage in sports.

This year fans in Europe and Africa have the circadian advantage. The World Cup, broadcasted live from South Africa, will air during afternoons and evenings those surrounding time zones.

The broadcast times for the World Cup aren’t as friendly for fans in Asia or the Americas. Monday’s first match, between the Netherlands and Denmark, started at 4:30 a.m. for viewers in the Pacific time zone. Ouch.

Ten total first-round World Cup games are scheduled for the earliest start time:

South Korea-Greece
Algeria-Slovenia (the Americans' group)
New Zealand-Slovakia
Argentina-South Korea
Portugal-North Korea

There’s a better option than an alarm clock sitting in entertainment centers these days. The Sleep Education blogger prefers to use Tivo or a DVR box to automatically record games. The devices allow viewers to rewind and fast-forward live television, and skip past the excess pre-match presentations and lengthy commercial breaks.

The best option is to sleep through those early World Cup matches, and watch them at your own convenience.

At the very least you can sleep a couple dozen minutes extra and fast-forward past those distractions. In no time you will be caught up with the live broadcast.
Thankfully, the early morning matches will start to disappear as the World Cup progresses. The final rounds all have early afternoon start times for American viewers.

The Sleep Education blog recognizes the excitement the World Cup brings but cautions against cutting back on sleep for soccer-watching. Even losing an hour of sleep a night will yield negative effects, especially over a couple weeks. As sleep debt builds, so do the symptoms. reports common symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation include:

·Daytime sleepiness

·Irritability/ symptoms of depression

·Lack of motivation

·Shortened attention span

·Impaired judgment

See the entire FIFA World Cup schedule

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