The effect of interstate travel on the sleep patterns and performance of elite Australian Rules footballers

Louise K. Richmond, Brian Dawson, Glenn Stewart, Stuart Cormack, David R. Hillman, Peter R. Eastwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the effect of interstate travel on sleep patterns and game performance of elite Australian Rules footballers. Nineteen members of a Western Australian-based Australian Football League team participated in the study during the 2004 season. Sleep was assessed on the night before home and away games by measuring sleep duration (SLD), sleep efficiency (SLE), wake time (WT) and number of wakings (NW) via actigraphy. Subjective sleep quality was assessed using a sleep rating (SR) scale. Baseline sleep measurements were obtained over four consecutive non-game nights. Game performance was assessed using a coach's rating (CR) scale and impact ranking (IR) and by player statistics including frequency of possessions (P) and frequency of possessions and team assists (PTA). Compared to baseline, SLD was greater on the nights before home and away games (by 48 and 39 min, respectively, p < 0.05). Other sleep measures were unchanged. Sleep rating was poorer before away than home games (p < 0.05). CR and IR were greater during home than away games (p < 0.05). All other measures of performance were similar at home and away. These results show that prior interstate travel has minimal effect on sleep quality and game performance in elite footballers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by an AFL Research and Development grant and the assistance of the AFL Research and Development board is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would also like to thank Dr Ian Dick of the Bone and Mineral Research Group, Western Australia for his assistance with the statistical analyses. Peter Eastwood is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) R Douglas Wright Fellowship (No. 294404).

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Actigraphy
  • Australian rules football
  • Game performance
  • Sleep quality


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