Sleep architecture of elite soccer players surrounding match days as measured by WHOOP straps


March 2024

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This study aimed to quantify and compare sleep architecture before and after home and away matches in elite soccer players from the English Premier League. Across two seasons, 6 male players (age 28 ± 5 y; body mass 85.1 ± 9.5 kg; height 1.86 ± 0.09 m) wore WHOOP straps to monitor sleep across 13 matches that kicked off before 17:00 h. For each, sleep was recorded the night before (MD−1), after (MD) and following the match (MD +1). Across these 3 days total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), sleep disturbances, wake time, light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep, sleep and wake onsets, alongside external load, were compared. TST was reduced after MD versus MD +1 (392.9 ± 76.4 vs 459.1 ± 66.7 min, p = 0.003) but no differences existed in any other sleep variables between days (p > 0.05). TST did not differ after home (386.9 ± 75.7 min) vs. away matches (401.0 ± 78.3 min) (p = 0.475), nor did other sleep variables (p > 0.05). GPS-derived external load peaked on MD (p < 0.05). In conclusion, despite reduced TST on MD, sleep architecture was unaffected after matches played before 17:00 h, suggesting sleep quality was not significantly compromised.

Chronobiol Int. (2024) 4:1-9.

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