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Purpose: To investigate the effects of napping after partial sleep deprivation (PSD) on reaction time, mood, and biochemical response to repeated-sprint exercise in athletes. Methods: Nine male judokas performed 4 test sessions in a counterbalanced and randomized order. Participants accomplished 1 control session after a normal sleep night (NSN) and 3 after PSD with (1) no nap, (2) ∼20-min nap (N20), and (3) ∼90-min nap (N90) opportunities. Test sessions included the running-based anaerobic sprint test, reaction time, Hooper index, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Muscle-damage biomarkers and antioxidant status were evaluated before and after exercise. Results: PSD decreased maximum (P < .001, d = 1.12), mean (P < .001, d = 1.33), and minimum (P < .001, d = 1.15) powers compared with NSN. However, N20 and N90 enhanced maximum power compared with PSD (P < .05, d = 0.54; P < .001, d = 1.06, respectively). Minimum power and mean power increased only after N90 (P < .001, d = 1.63; P < .001, d = 1.16, respectively). Epworth Sleepiness Scale increased after PSD (P < .001, d = 0.86) and decreased after N20 (P < .001, d = 1.36) and N90 (P < .001, d = 2.07). N20 reduced multiple-choice reaction time (P < .001, d = 0.61). Despite performance decrement, PSD increased postexercise aspartate aminotransferase (P < .001, d = 4.16) and decreased glutathione peroxidase (P < .001, d = 4.02) compared with NSN. However, the highest performances after N90 were accompanied with lesser aspartate aminotransferase (P < .001, d = 1.74) and higher glutathione peroxidase (P < .001, d = 0.86) compared with PSD. Conclusions: Napping could be preventive against performance degradation caused by sleep loss. A short nap opportunity could be more beneficial when the subsequent effort is brief and requires frequent decision making. However, a longer nap opportunity could be preventive against muscle and oxidative damage, even for higher performances.
Chamari and Hammouda participated equally in the study. Romdhani and Souissi are with the High Inst of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar-Said, Manouba University, Manouba, Tunisia, and the Research Center on Physical Activity, Sport and Health, National Observatory of Sports, Tunis, Tunisia. Romdhani and Hammouda are with the Research Unit, Molecular Bases of Human Pathology, Faculty of Medicine of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia. Chaabouni and Mahdouani are with the Dept of Biochemistry, CHU Ibn Jazzar, Kairouan, Tunisia, and the Laboratory of Analysis, Treatment and Valorization of Pollutants of the Environment and Products, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia. Driss and Hammouda are with the Interdisciplinary Laboratory in Neurosciences, Physiology and Psychology: Physical Activity and Health, UPL, Paris Nanterre University, UFR STAPS, Nanterre, France. Chamari is with the Athlete Health and Performance Research Center, Aspetar, Qatar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.