2016 National Conference

Cheri Mah

Clinical and Translational Research fellow at the UCSF Human Performance Center

Presentation Summary:

Athletes are constantly looking for ways to improve and optimize their performance - and an increasing body of research points to the importance of healthy and adequate sleep including a good nighttime routine to achieve these results. This session will review the latest research on sleep and performance as well as what a "good" nighttime routine entails - everything from the amount of sleep needed to key components for good sleep quality - and offer practical tips to share with your athletes.


Cheri D. Mah, M.S., is a Clinical and Translational Research fellow at the UCSF Human Performance Center. For over a decade, Cheri has worked with William C. Dement, MD PhD, who pioneered modern sleep medicine, at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory. Her research focuses on the relationship between sleep and athletic performance in high-performing athletes. In particular, Cheri's research investigates the impact of sleep extension on cognitive and physical performance across a wide range of sports. Cheri has focused on studying the possible benefits of sleep extension to reduce negative consequences of chronic sleep loss on daytime functioning as well as potentially enhance performance. Her research interests also include the impact of circadian rhythms and sleep quality on sports performance.

Cheri currently serves as the sleep advisor for Nike including the Nike Performance team and has served on the Nike Performance Advisory Board. Cheri also consults with professional teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB as well as international sports organizations on optimal performance and recovery strategies. She works with elite athletes across various sports and has developed comprehensive sleep programs for collegiate and professional sports. At Stanford, she advises varsity teams on optimal sleep, scheduling, and peak performance, as well as leads the sleep expertise on the Stanford Performance Enhancement Alliance, a novel multidisciplinary approach to athlete performance. Her research and work have been featured in national and international media including the NY Times, ESPN, NPR, NBC Bay Area, Time, CBS, BBC, Runner's World, National Geographic Adventure, and the Wall Street Journal.

Her experience also includes working with companies such as Google, Lark, NightCare, and various sleep technology startups. Cheri is active in a wide range of teaching and novel community outreach programs on the dangers of sleep deficits and the benefits of healthy sleep.

Cheri received her M.S. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University. She received her B.A.S. dual degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. Cheri is currently pursuing her M.D. and is in her 4th year at the University of California at San Francisco. She has been awarded a Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship with the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute to continue her sleep research in collaboration with UCSF Sports Medicine at the UCSF Human Performance Center.