A Comparative Study of Sleep and Mood Between Young Elite Athletes and Age-Matched Controls

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Sleep and mood have seldom been compared between elite athletes and nonelite athletes, although potential differences suggest that physical activity may affect these parameters. This study aims to explore whether adolescent elite athletes differ from controls in terms of sleep, positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA).


Forty-eight elite athletes and 26 controls participating in organized and nonorganized sport completed a questionnaire, and a 7-day sleep diary.


On school days, the athletes and the controls who participated in organized and nonorganized sport differed in bedtime (22:46, 23:14, 23:42, P < .01), sleep onset (23:03, 23:27, 00:12, P < .01), and total sleep time (7:52, 8:00, 6:50, P < 01). During weekend, the athletes, the controls who participated in organized and nonorganized sport differed in bedtime (23:30, 00:04, 00:49, P < .01), sleep onset (23.42, 00:18, 01:13, P < .01), rise time (9:15, 9:47, 10:55, P < .01), sleep efficiency (95.0%, 94.2%, 90.0%, P < 05), and sleep onset latency (11.8, 18.0, 28.0 minutes, P < .01). Furthermore, the athletes reported less social jetlag (0:53) and higher score for PA (34.3) compared with the controls who participated in nonorganized sport (jetlag: 1:25, P < .05, PA: 29.8, P < .05).


An almost dose-response association was found between weekly training hours, sleep, social jetlag and mood in adolescents.

Harris, Thun, and Pallesen are with the Dept of Psychosocial Science, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway. Gundersen is with the Dept of Sport and Physical Activity, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway. Andreassen is with the Olympiatoppen Region Western Norway. Bjorvatn is with the Dept of Global Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen, Norway. Bjorvatn and Pallesen are also with the Norwegian Competence Center for Sleep Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.

Harris (anette.harris@uib.no) is corresponding author.