The Sleep Behaviors of Elite Australian Rules Footballers Before and After Games During an Entire Season

Charli Sargent, Brent Rogalski, Ashley Montero, Gregory D. Roach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Most athletes sleep poorly around competition. The aim of this study was to examine sleep before/after games during an entire season in elite Australian Rules footballers (N = 37) from the same team. Methods: Sleep was monitored using activity monitors for 4 consecutive nights (beginning 2 nights before games) during 19 rounds of a season. Differences in sleep on the nights before/after games, and differences in sleep before/after games as a function of game time (day vs evening), location (local vs interstate), and outcome (win vs loss), were examined using linear mixed effects models. Results: Players fell asleep earlier (+1.9 h; P < .001), and woke up later (+1 h; P < .001) on the night before games compared with the night of games. Players obtained less sleep on the night of games than on the night before games (5.2 h vs 7.7 h; P < .001), and this reduction was exacerbated when games were played in the evening—after evening games, players obtained approximately 40 minutes less sleep than after day games (P < .001). Sleep duration on the nights before and after games was not affected by game location or game outcome, but players had later sleep onset (P < .001) and offset times (P < .001) on most nights when sleeping away from home. Conclusions: Elite footballers obtain good sleep on the night before games but obtain approximately 30% less sleep on the night of games. Given the role of sleep in recovery, it will be important to determine whether a reduction in sleep duration of this magnitude impairs recovery on the days following games.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-942
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of sports physiology and performance
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • activity monitors
  • game outcome
  • professional athletes
  • sleep timing
  • total sleep time
  • travel

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