A critical review on sleep assessment methodologies in athletic populations: factors to be considered

Angelos Vlahoyiannis, Giorgos K. Sakkas, Mauro Manconi, George Aphamis, Christoforos D. Giannaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A growing body of research focus on athletes' sleep in order to investigate the effects of sleep in sports performance and recovery or the prevalence of sleep disorders in athletes. At the same time, several sleep monitoring tools have been developed and used in athletic populations for fulfilling these purposes. This review aimed to provide critical assessment to the most used by athletes' methodological approaches and compared them with the gold standard approach. Advantages and disadvantages of the various sleep monitoring tools were critically discussed. Literature related to aspects of athletes' sleep was reviewed. From the shortlisted studies, several factors that seem to affect sleep in athletes were identified using objective methods such as polysomnography/electroencephalography and actigraphy. These factors were associated to sleep (eg such as sleep environment, familiarization procedures and napping) and daily habits (eg nutrition, fluid consumption, alcohol and caffeine intake, tobacco use). The selected studies that evaluated sleep objectively were screened according the reporting rates of these variables. The majority of the screened studies were found to underreport these variables. Practical issues were addressed and recommendations about reporting sleep-related factors were made in order to improve studies’ quality assessment and allow for more robust comparisons between studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-223
Number of pages13
JournalSleep Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Actigraphy
  • Athletes
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep
  • Wearables


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