Deconstructing athletes’ sleep: A systematic review of the influence of age, sex, athletic expertise, sport type, and season on sleep characteristics

Angelos Vlahoyiannis, George Aphamis, Gregory C. Bogdanis, Giorgos K. Sakkas, Eleni Andreou, Christoforos D. Giannaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This systematic review aims to describe objective sleep parameters for athletes under different conditions and address potential sleep issues in this specific population. Methods: PubMed and Scopus were searched from inception to April 2019. Included studies measured sleep only via objective evaluation tools such as polysomnography or actigraphy. The modified version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used for the quality assessment of the studies. Results: Eighty-one studies were included, of which 56 were classified as medium quality, 5 as low quality, and 20 as high quality. A total of 1830 athletes were monitored over 18,958 nights. Average values for sleep-related parameters were calculated for all athletes according to sex, age, athletic expertise level, training season, and type of sport. Athletes slept on average 7.2 ± 1.1 h/night (mean ± SD)?, with 86.3% ± 6.8% sleep efficiency (SE). In all datasets, the athletes’ mean total sleep time was <8 h. SE was low for young athletes (80.3% ± 8.8%). Reduced SE was attributed to high wake after sleep onset rather than sleep onset latency. During heavy training periods, sleep duration and SE were on average 36 min and 0.8% less compared to pre-season and 42 min and 3.0% less compared to in-season training periods, respectively. Conclusion: Athletes’ sleep duration was found to be short with low SE, in comparison to the general consensus for non-athlete healthy adults. Notable sleep issues were revealed in young athletes. Sleep quality and architecture tend to change across different training periods.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Actigraphy
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep architecture
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep quality

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