The Sleep and Recovery Practices of Athletes

Rónán Doherty*, Sharon M. Madigan, Alan Nevill, Giles Warrington, Jason G. Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Athletes maintain a balance between stress and recovery and adopt recovery modalities that manage fatigue and enhance recovery and performance. Optimal TST is subject to individual variance. However, 7–9 h sleep is recommended for adults, while elite athletes may require more quality sleep than non-athletes. Methods: A total of 338 (elite n = 115, 74 males and 41 females, aged 23.44 ± 4.91 years; and sub-elite n = 223, 129 males and 94 females aged 25.71 ± 6.27) athletes were recruited from a variety of team and individual sports to complete a battery of previously validated and reliable widely used questionnaires assessing sleep, recovery and nutritional practices. Results: Poor sleep was reported by both the elite and sub-elite athlete groups (i.e., global PSQI score ≥5—elite 64% [n = 74]; sub-elite 65% [n = 146]) and there was a significant difference in sport-specific recovery practices (3.22 ± 0.90 vs. 2.91 ± 0.90; p < 0.001). Relatively high levels of fatigue (2.52 ± 1.32), stress (1.7 ± 1.31) and pain (50%, n = 169) were reported in both groups. A range of supplements were used regularly by athletes in both groups; indeed, whey (elite n = 22 and sub-elite n = 48) was the most commonly used recovery supplement in both groups. Higher alcohol consumption was observed in the sub-elite athletes (12%, n = 26) and they tended to consume more units of alcohol per drinking bout. Conclusion: There is a need for athletes to receive individualised support and education regarding their sleep and recovery practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1330
Number of pages25
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2021

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