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Hichem Souissi, Hamdi Chtourou, Anis Chaouachi, Mohamed Dogui, Karim Chamari, Nizar Souissi, and Mohamed Amri

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of time-of-day-specific training on the diurnal variations of short-term performances in boys. Twenty-four boys were randomized into a morning-training-group (07:00–08:00h; MTG), an evening training-group (17:00–18:00h; ETG) and a control-group (CG). They performed four tests of strength and power (unilateral isometric maximal voluntary contraction of the knee extensor muscles, Squat-Jump, Counter-Movement-Jump and Wingate tests) at 07:00 and 17:00h just before (T0) and after 6 weeks of resistance training (T1). In T0, the results revealed that short-term performances improved and oral temperature increased significantly from morning to afternoon (amplitudes between 2.36 and 17.5% for both oral temperature and performances) for all subjects. In T1, the diurnal variations of performances were blunted in the MTG and persisted in the ETG and CG. Moreover, the training program increase muscle strength and power especially after training in the morning hours and the magnitude of gains was greater at the time-of-day-specific training than at other times. In conclusion, these results suggest that time-of-day-specific training increases the child’s anaerobic performances specifically at this time-of-day. Moreover, the improvement of these performances was greater after morning than evening training.

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Hichem Souissi, Anis Chaouachi, Karim Chamari, Mohamed Dogui, Mohamed Amri, and Nizar Souissi

The purpose of this study was to examine the time-of-day effects on short-term performances in boys. In a balanced and randomized study design, 20 boys performed four anaerobic tests of strength and power (grip strength, Squat-Jump, Five-jump and cycle Wingate tests) at 08:00, 14:00 and 18:00 hr on separate days. The results showed a time-of-day effect on oral temperature. Analysis of variance revealed a significant time-of-day effect for short-term performances for strength, cycle, and jump tests. The post hoc analysis revealed that performances improved significantly from morning to afternoon but no significant differences were noticed between 14:00 and 18:00 hr. The differences between the morning and the afternoon (the highest value measured either at 14:00 or at 18:00 hr) reached 5.9% for grip strength, 3.5% for the squat jump test, 5% for the five jump test, and 5.5% for Ppeak and 6% for Pmean during the Wingate test. A significant positive correlation was found between temperature and short-term performances. In conclusion, a time-of-day effect in the child’s maximal short-term exercise performances exists in relation with core temperature. Such variations would have pronounced effects when expressed in training programs and competitions.

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Asma Aloui, Anis Chaouachi, Hamdi Chtourou, Del P. Wong, Monoem Haddad, Karim Chamari, and Nizar Souissi

Purpose:

This study examined the effects of Ramadan on cycling repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and corresponding diurnal variations.

Methods:

Twelve active men performed an RSA test (5 × 6-s maximal sprints interspersed with 24 s passive recovery) during morning and afternoon sessions 1 wk before Ramadan (BR), during the second (R2) and the fourth (R4) weeks of Ramadan, and 2 wk after Ramadan (AR). Maximal voluntary contraction was assessed before (MVCpre), immediately after (MVCpost), and 5 min after the RSA test (MVCpost5). Moreover, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma sodium and potassium (K+) concentrations were measured at rest and after the RSA test and MVCpost.

Results:

Overall, peak power (Ppeak) during the RSA test decreased throughout the 5 sprints. Ppeak measured in the first sprint and MVCpre were lower during Ramadan than BR in the afternoon (P < .05) and higher in the afternoon than the morning BR and AR (P < .05). However, this diurnal rhythmicity was not found for the last 4 sprints’ Ppeak, MVCpost, and MVCpost5 in all testing periods. Furthermore, the last 4 sprints’ Ppeak, MVCpost, MVCpost5, and morning MVCpre were not affected by Ramadan. [K+] measured at rest and after the RSA test and MVCpost were higher during Ramadan than BR in the afternoon (P < .05) and higher in the afternoon than the morning during Ramadan (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Fatigability is higher in the afternoon during Ramadan, and, therefore, training and competition should be scheduled at the time of day when physical performance is less affected.

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Chaouachi Anis, John B. Leiper, Souissi Nizar, Aaron J. Coutts, and Chamari Karim

The month-long diurnal Ramadan fast imposes a major challenge to Islamic athletes. Sporting events are programmed throughout the year, with the result that training and competition are often scheduled during Ramadan. The small numbers of well-controlled studies that have examined the effects of Ramadan on athletic performance suggest that few aspects of physical fitness are negatively affected, and only modest decrements are observed. Whereas subjective feelings of fatigue and other mood indicators are often cited as implying additional stress on the athlete throughout Ramadan, most studies show these measures may not be reflected in decreases in performance. The development and early implementation of sensible eating and sleeping strategies can greatly alleviate the disruptions to training and competitiveness, thus allowing the athlete to perform at a high level while undertaking the religious intermittent fast. Nevertheless, further research is required to understand the mechanisms and energy pathways that allow athletes to maintain their performance capacities during Ramadan, and which factors are responsible for the observed decrements in performance of some individuals.

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Mohamed Romdhani, Nizar Souissi, Yassine Chaabouni, Kacem Mahdouani, Tarak Driss, Karim Chamari, and Omar Hammouda

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.

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Anis Kamoun, Omar Hammouda, Abdelmoneem Yahia, Oussema Dhari, Houcem Ksentini, Tarak Driss, Nizar Souissi, and Mohamed Habib Elleuch

The present study aimed to investigate the effect of acute nocturnal melatonin (MEL) ingestion on sleep quality, cognitive performance, and postural balance in older adults. A total of 12 older men (58 ± 5.74 years) volunteered to participate in this study. The experimental protocol consisted in two testing sessions after nocturnal MEL (10 mg) or placebo ingestion the night before the tests. During each session, sleep quality tests, cognitive tests, and postural balance protocol were conducted. Static and dynamic postural control was assessed using a force platform. Most of the sleep parameters have been improved following nocturnal MEL ingestion without any effect on cognitive performance. Likewise, measurements related to the center of pressure (CoP) have been significantly decreased with MEL compared with placebo. In conclusion, postural control has been improved the morning following nocturnal MEL ingestion in older adults. This trend could be explained by the potential effect of MEL on sleep quality and cerebellum.

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Mohamed Romdhani, Nizar Souissi, Imen Moussa-Chamari, Yassine Chaabouni, Kacem Mahdouani, Zouheir Sahnoun, Tarak Driss, Karim Chamari, and Omar Hammouda

Purpose: To compare the effect of a 20-minute nap opportunity (N20), a moderate dose of caffeine (CAF; 5 mg·kg−1), or a moderate dose of caffeine before N20 (CAF+N) as possible countermeasures to the decreased performance and the partial sleep deprivation–induced muscle damage. Methods: Nine male, highly trained judokas were randomly assigned to either baseline normal sleep night, placebo, N20, CAF, or CAF+N. Test sessions included the running-based anaerobic sprint test, from which the maximum (P max), mean (P mean), and minimum (P min) powers were calculated. Biomarkers of muscle, hepatic, and cardiac damage and of enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants were measured at rest and after the exercise. Results: N20 increased P max compared with placebo (P < .01, d = 0.75). CAF+N increased P max (P < .001, d = 1.5; d = 0.94), P min (P < .001, d = 2.79; d = 2.6), and P mean (P < .001, d = 1.93; d = 1.79) compared with placebo and CAF, respectively. Postexercise creatine kinase increased whenever caffeine was added, that is, after CAF (P < .001, d = 1.19) and CAF+N (P < .001, d = 1.36). Postexercise uric acid increased whenever participants napped, that is, after N20 (P < .001, d = 2.19) and CAF+N (P < .001, d = 2.50) and decreased after CAF (P < .001, d = 2.96). Conclusion: Napping improved repeated-sprint performance and antioxidant defense after partial sleep deprivation. Contrarily, caffeine increased muscle damage without improving performance. For sleep-deprived athletes, caffeine before a short nap opportunity would be more beneficial for repeated sprint performance than each treatment alone.