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How Much Sleep Does an Elite Athlete Need?

Charli Sargent, Michele Lastella, Shona L. Halson, and Gregory D. Roach

Purpose: Anecdotal reports indicate that many elite athletes are dissatisfied with their sleep, but little is known about their actual sleep requirements. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the self-assessed sleep need of elite athletes with an objective measure of their habitual sleep duration. Methods: Participants were 175 elite athletes (n = 30 females), age 22.2 (3.8) years (mean [SD]) from 12 individual and team sports. The athletes answered the question “how many hours of sleep do you need to feel rested?” and they kept a self-report sleep diary and wore a wrist activity monitor for ∼12 nights during a normal phase of training. For each athlete, a sleep deficit index was calculated by subtracting their average sleep duration from their self-assessed sleep need. Results: The athletes needed 8.3 (0.9) hours of sleep to feel rested, their average sleep duration was 6.7 (0.8) hours, and they had a sleep deficit index of 96.0 (60.6) minutes. Only 3% of athletes obtained enough sleep to satisfy their self-assessed sleep need, and 71% of athletes fell short by an hour or more. Specifically, habitual sleep duration was shorter in athletes from individual sports than in athletes from team sports (F 1,173 = 13.1, P < .001; d = 0.6, medium), despite their similar sleep need (F 1,173 = 1.40, P = .24; d = 0.2, small). Conclusions: The majority of elite athletes obtain substantially less than their self-assessed sleep need. This is a critical finding, given that insufficient sleep may compromise an athlete’s capacity to train effectively and/or compete optimally.

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The AACTT of Trash Talk: Identifying Forms of Trash Talk in Esports Using Behavior Specification

Sidney V. Irwin, Anjum Naweed, and Michele Lastella

Esports, much like conventional sports, are guided by social norms that determine the acceptability or unacceptability of certain behaviors. One act guided by social norms is trash talk. However, understanding its practice has been difficult due to the various definitions of its use. Focusing on the first-person shooter genre, this study aimed to uncover and encapsulate the various forms of trash talk into a single framework. Applying Presseau et al.’s Action, Actor, Context, Target, and Time (AACTT) framework for specifying behavior, 61 cases of trash talk were analyzed across Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six: Siege esports. Actions associated with trash talk were primarily found through verbal and written exchanges though they can occur through in-game mechanics—a practice unique to esports. Traditionally, actors and targets are the professional players in a game. However, trash talking was also practiced by coaches, stage talent, and esport organizations. The context of trash talk can be further identified through physical, environmental, and social settings, and whether the time trash talk occurs is centered around a match or tournament. Understanding the impact of each AACTT element may have on the social norms of trash talk can allow researchers to further distinguish behaviors across esport consumers.