Self-reported current sleep behaviors of adult athletes from different competitive levels and sports


August 2020

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Objectives: To quantify self-reported current sleep behaviors in a range of adult athletes. In addition, to determine any differences in sleep duration and sleep quality, depending on sport type and competitive level. Material and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 313 athletes (243 male, 70 female), competing in a variety of sports and competitive level, completed the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) and a questionnaire which captured current sleep behaviors. Sleep quality was calculated using the global PSQI score (≥ 5 indicative of poor sleep quality). Results: On average, athletes self-reported sleep duration was 7:34 ± 1:00 h:min. Overall, 19% of athletes achieved less than 7 h of sleep, 50% achieved less than 8 h. Global PSQI score was 5.0 ± 2.4, with poor sleep quality found in 55% of athletes. Sleep duration was significantly shorter in runners compared to basketball, soccer and rugby players (p < 0.05). Recreational athletes slept significantly less (7:08 ± 0:54 h:min) than competitive (7:32 ± 1:00 h:min), national (7:50 ± 1:00 h:min) and elite level athletes (7:49 ± 0:51 h:min). No differences in sleep quality were found between sport or competitive level. Discussion: Half of the athletes failed to achieve 8 h of sleep per night and the majority reported compromised sleep quality. Sport type and competitive level may influence sleep duration; however, these factors do not seem to cause discrepancies in sleep quality. This study provides novel data into the sleep behaviors of adult athletes, and suggests strategies to improve sleep duration and quality may be warranted.

Sleep Sci (2020) Epub ahead of print

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