How Do the Habitual Sleep Patterns of Elite Female Basketball and Soccer Athletes Compare With the General Population?

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To compare the habitual sleep of female basketball and soccer athletes to age- and sex-matched controls and to characterize the sleep of basketball and soccer athletes at different competition locations and on the days surrounding competition. Methods: Using an observational case–control design, 41 female participants were recruited to participate, consisting of 11 basketball athletes (mean [SD]: age = 24.1 [4.9] y), 10 soccer athletes (24.8 [6.4] y), and 20 nonathletic controls (24.2 [2.8] y). Sleep was monitored using actigraphy for four 7-day periods throughout the preseason and subsequent competition season. Generalized linear models were used to analyze the effect of group and competition situation (eg, Home or Away) on sleep. Results: During habitual conditions, basketball athletes had longer sleep durations (7.4 [1.5] h) than soccer athletes (7.0 [1.2] h, P < .001) and controls (7.3 [1.2] h, P = .002). During competition, basketball and soccer athletes had longer sleep durations following home (7.7 [1.7] and 7.2 ± 1.3 h) compared with away games (6.8 [1.8] and 7.0 [1.3] h). In addition, basketballers went to bed earlier (23:49 [01:25]) and woke earlier (07:22 [01:59]) following away games compared with soccer athletes (00:10 [01:45] and 08:13 [01:45]). Conclusions: Basketballers had longer habitual sleep durations compared with soccer athletes and nonathletic controls. During competition, basketballers had earlier bed and wake times compared with soccer athletes following away games, highlighting the need for individualized sleep strategies.

Miles, Clark, Mara, and Pumpa are with the Research Inst for Sport and Exercise, and Mara and Pumpa, also the Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia. Fowler is with the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Miller is with AIS Operations, Australian Inst of Sport, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Miles (Kathleen.Miles@canberra.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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