The Travel Demands of an Elite Rugby Sevens Team: Effects on Objective and Subjective Sleep Parameters

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $112.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $149.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $213.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $284.00

Purpose: To explore the effects of travel related to international rugby sevens competition on sleep patterns. Methods: A total of 17 international male rugby sevens players participated in this study. Actigraphic and subjective sleep assessments were performed daily during 2 separate Sevens World Series competition legs (Oceania and America). The duration of each competition leg was subdivided into key periods (pretour, precompetition, tournament 1, relocation, tournament 2, and posttour) lasting 2 to 7 nights. Linear mixed models in combination with magnitude-based decisions were used to assess (1) the difference between preseason and key periods and (2) the effect of travel direction (eastward or westward). Results: Shorter total sleep time (hours:minutes) was observed during tournament 2 (mean [SD], 06:16 [01:08]), relocation (06:09 [01:09]), and the pretour week (06:34 [01:24]) compared with the preseason (06:52 [01:00]). Worse sleep quality (arbitrary units) was observed during tournament 1 (6.1 [2.0]) and 2 (5.7 [1.2]), as well as during the relocation week (6.3 [1.5]) than during the preseason (6.5 [1.8]). When traveling eastward compared with westward, earlier fall-asleep time was observed during tournament 1 (ES − 0.57; 90% CI, −1.12 to −0.01), the relocation week (−0.70 [−1.11 to −0.28]), and the posttour (−0.57 [−0.95 to −0.18]). However, possibly trivial and unclear differences were observed during the precompetition week (0.15 [−0.15 to 0.45]) and tournament 2 (0.81 [−0.29 to 1.91]). Conclusion: The sleep patterns of elite rugby sevens players are robust to the effects of long-haul travel and jet lag. However, the staff should consider promoting sleep during the tournament and relocation week.

Leduc, Tee, and Jones are with the Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom. Leduc, Robineau, Cheradame, and Piscione are with the Research Dept, French Rugby Federation (FFR), Marcoussis, France. Jones is also with the Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club, Leeds, United Kingdom; England Performance Unit, The Rugby Football League, Leeds, United Kingdom; School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia; and the Div of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Dept of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sports Science Inst of South Africa, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Lacome is with the Performance Dept, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France; and the Laboratory of Sport, Expertise and Performance (EA 7370), French National Inst of Sport (INSEP), Paris, France. Tee is also with the Dept of Sport Studies, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa.

Leduc (cedric.leduc1@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Ross A, Gill N, Cronin J. Match analysis and player characteristics in rugby sevens. Sports Med. 2014;44(3):357367. PubMed ID: 24234931 doi:

  • 2.

    Tucker R. Rugby sevens: Olympic debutante and research catalyst. Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(11):638639. PubMed ID: 27190228 doi:

  • 3.

    Mitchell JA, Pumpa KL, Pyne DB. Responses of lower-body power and match running demands following long-haul travel in international rugby sevens players. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(3):686695. PubMed ID: 27359207 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Reilly T, Waterhouse J, Edwards B. Some chronobiological and physiological problems associated with long-distance journeys. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2009;7(2):88101. PubMed ID: 19237142 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Fowler PM, Murray A, Farooq A, Lumley N, Taylor L. Subjective and objective responses to two rugby sevens world series competitions. J Strength Cond Res. 2019;33(4):10431055. PubMed ID: 29016478 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Forbes-Robertson S, Dudley E, Vadgama P, Cook C, Drawer S, Kilduff L. Circadian disruption and remedial interventions: effects and interventions for jet lag for athletic peak performance. Sports Med. 2012;42(3):185208. PubMed ID: 22299812 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Marrier B, Le Meur Y, Leduc C, et al. Training periodization over an elite rugby sevens season: from theory to practice. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018;14(1):124. PubMed ID: 29952634 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Robineau J, Marrier B, Le Meur Y, Piscione J, Peeters A, Lacome M. “Road to Rio”: a case study of workload periodization strategy in rugby-7s during an Olympic season. Front Sports Act Living. 2020;1:72. doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    West DJ, Cook CJ, Stokes KA, et al. Profiling the time-course changes in neuromuscular function and muscle damage over two consecutive tournament stages in elite rugby sevens players. J Sci Med Sport. 2014;17(6):688692. PubMed ID: 24332752 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Leduc C, Jones B, Robineau J, Piscione J, Lacome M. Sleep quality and quantity of international rugby sevens players during pre-season. J Strength Cond Res. 2019;33(7):18781886. PubMed ID: 30789579 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Sadeh A. The role and validity of actigraphy in sleep medicine: an update. Sleep Med Rev. 2011;15(4):259267. PubMed ID: 21237680 doi:

  • 12.

    Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(1):313. PubMed ID: 19092709 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Ramírez CA, Till K, Beasley G, et al. Sleep patterns of elite youth team-sport athletes prior to and during international competition. Sci Med Football. 2020;4(1):1521. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Lastella M, Roach GD, Halson SL, Martin DT, West NP, Sargent C. Sleep/wake behaviour of endurance cyclists before and during competition. J Sports Sci. 2015;33(3):293299. PubMed ID: 25105558 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American academy of sleep medicine and sleep research society. Sleep. 2015;38(6):843844. PubMed ID: 26039963 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Couderc A, Thomas C, Lacome M, et al. Movement patterns and metabolic responses during an international rugby sevens tournament. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017;12(7):901907. PubMed ID: 27918679 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Yosaee S, Gharamaleki AS, Zamani A, Khosravi A, Djafarian K. Validation of self-reported sleep against actigraphy. J Zanjan Univ Med Sci Heal Serv. 2013;21(88):462468. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Nédélec M, Halson S, Abaidia A-E, Ahmaidi S, Dupont G. Stress, sleep and recovery in elite soccer: a critical review of the literature. Sports Med. 2015;45(10):13871400. PubMed ID: 26206724 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    West DJ, Finn CV, Cunningham DJ, et al. Neuromuscular function, hormonal, and mood responses to a professional rugby union match. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(1):194200. PubMed ID: 23539085 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Luke A, Lazaro RM, Bergeron MF, et al. Sports-related injuries in youth athletes: is overscheduling a risk factor? Clin J Sport Med. 2011;21(4):307314. doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Bonnar D, Bartel K, Kakoschke N, Lang C. Sleep interventions designed to improve athletic performance and recovery: a systematic review of current approaches. Sports Med. 2018;48(3):683703. PubMed ID: 29352373 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 393 393 95
Full Text Views 7 7 1
PDF Downloads 7 7 1