Some people deprive themselves of sleep to hallucinate or to treat their depression, often with decent results. Olympic ski jumpers have now identified a third way lack of sleep can be helpful: It can maximize airtime.
Believing that a foggy mind could make them less likely to hold back when they shoot off a giant ramp to soar hundreds of yards through the air, some of the skiers arrived in Pyeongchang just days before their events so that they could compete while still jet lagged. "It's a surprisingly common strategy even among gold-medal contenders," The Wall Street Journal reports.
When you think about it, it kind of makes sense.
Losing sleep quiets the areas in your brain that inhibit you. It makes you more inclined to take risks. For ski jumpers, that can be ideal.
"Mentally, it feels like suicide," the retired ski jumper Jeff Hastings told the Journal. "The closer you come to committing suicide without committing suicide, the better you're going to be."