Although the function of sleep is not fully understood, it is generally accepted that it serves to recover from previous wakefulness and/or prepare for functioning in the subsequent wake period. Restricting sleep to less than 6 h per night for four or more consecutive nights has been shown to impair cognitive performance and mood, disturb glucose metabolism, appetite regulation and immune function. There is also emerging research on the effects of sleep deprivation on bone health.
Results of recent AIS research examining the importance of sleep and sleep habits in elite athletes have demonstrated poor sleep quality and quantity in some elite athletes. Athletes’ sleep/wake patterns were monitored using wrist activity monitors and sleep diaries. On average, participants across all sports obtained a total sleep time of 6:8 ± 1.1 h. Findings from this research reveal that elite athletes obtain less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep for the general population.
This presentation will outline what is currently known about sleep in athletes and discuss the role that reduced sleep quality and quantity may have on athletic performance.
This recording was made from a webinar presented by ESSA on 18 October 2016.
Shona Halson is a Senior Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, where her role involves service provision, education and scientific research. She has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and has been involved in conducting research into the areas of recovery, fatigue, sleep and travel. She is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.
Shona was selected as the Director of the Australian Olympic Committee Recovery Centre for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2012 London Olympic Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and has authored several book chapters on sleep, fatigue and recovery.
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