Effect of a Night Game on Actigraphy-Based Sleep Quality and Perceived Recovery in Top-Level Volleyball Athletes

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To evaluate actigraphy-based sleep quality and perceived recovery before and after a night game in top-level volleyball athletes. Methods: Data on sleep parameters were collected by actigraphy for 3 consecutive nights with 24 elite athletes (12 male and 12 female; mean age [SD] = 26.0 [3.4] y, age range = 20–33 y) during the competitive season 2016–17. Data from 1 night before and 2 nights after an official night match were studied, and athletes’ subjective perception of recovery was evaluated by the Total Quality Recovery scale. The following actigraphic parameters were studied: time in bed, sleep latency, sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, total sleep time, immobility time, moving time, and fragmentation index. Results: The analysis highlighted significant differences for all sleep variables. Total sleep time was lower the first night after the match compared with prematch sleep (P = .02) and the second night (P = .0009) after night competition (P = .0001, F2,23 = 22.93, ηp2 = .66). Similarly, sleep efficiency was lower immediately after the night competition compared with both prematch values (P = .03) and the second night (P = .0003) after competition (P = .0005, F2,23 = 8.93, ηp2 = .44). The same differences were observed in the perceived recovery values (P = .001, F2,23 = 13.37, ηp2 = .54). Conclusions: Coaches and medical staff should use these findings to develop a greater knowledge of how sleep differs during different phases of competition and to implement behavioral and sleep-hygiene strategies in top-level athletes.

Vitale, Banfi, and La Torre are with the Galeazzi Orthopedic Inst (Vitale, the Laboratory of Movement and Sport Science), Milan, Italy. Banfi, Galbiati, and Ferini-Strambi are with Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy. Galbiati and Ferini-Strambi are with the Dept of Clinical Neurosciences, Neurology–Sleep Disorders Center, San Raffaele Scientific Inst, Milan, Italy. La Torre is with the Dept of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Vitale (jacopo.vitale@grupposandonato.it) is corresponding author.
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