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  • Author: Júlio A. Costa x
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Júlio A. Costa, João Brito, Fábio Y. Nakamura, Eduardo M. Oliveira, Ovidio P. Costa and António N. Rebelo

Purpose: To analyze whether exercise training conducted at night disturbs sleep and affects nocturnal cardiac autonomic control in high-level female athletes. Methods: A total of 18 high-level female soccer players (mean [SD] age 20.4 [2.1] y) wore actigraphs and heart-rate (HR) monitors during night sleep throughout night training days (n = 8) and resting days (n = 8), for 3 consecutive weeks. This was a longitudinal study that measured internal training load, sleep, nocturnal cardiac autonomic activity, and well-being ratings prior to training sessions. Results: Training load varied across training days (eg, training impulse range, mean [SD]; effect size, ES [95% confidence interval]: 72.9 [18.8] to 138.4 [29.6] a.u.; F4,62 = 32.331; ηp2=.673 [.001–.16], large effect; P < .001). However, no differences in subjective well-being ratings were observed, although ES was large. Total sleep time (training days vs resting days: 07:17 [00:47] h vs 07:51 [00:42] h; ES = 0.742 [0.59–0.92], P = .005; moderate effect) and sleep-onset time (00:58 [00:19] h vs 00:44 [00:16] h; ES = 0.802 [0.68–0.94], P = .001; moderate effect) were negatively affected after night training. In addition, small effects were detected for wake-up time, time in bed, and sleep latency (P > .05). No differences were detected in HR variability during sleep (range of lnRMSSD: 4.3 [0.4] to 4.5 [0.4] ln[ms] vs 4.6 [0.3] to 4.5 [0.4] ln[ms]; F3,52 = 2.148; P > .05; ηp2=.112 [.01–.25], medium effect), but HR during sleep was significantly higher after training days (range of HR: 56 [4] to 63 [7] beats/min vs 54 [4] to 57 [6] beats/min; F2,32 = 15.956; P < .001; ηp2=.484 [.20–.63], large effect). Conclusion: Overall, the results indicate that exercise training conducted at night may disturb sleep and affect HR, whereas limited effects can be expected in HR variability assessed during sleep in high-level female soccer players.

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Júlio A. Costa, João Brito, Fábio Y. Nakamura, Eduardo M. Oliveira and António N. Rebelo

Purpose: To assess the sensitivity of nocturnal heart-rate-variability-monitoring methods to the effects of late-night soccer training sessions in female athletes. Methods: Eleven female soccer players competing in the first division of the Portuguese soccer league wore heart-rate monitors during sleep at night throughout a 1-wk competitive in-season microcycle, after late-night training sessions (n = 3) and rest days (n = 3). Heart rate variability was analyzed through “slow-wave sleep episode” (10-min duration) and “hour by hour” (all the RR intervals recorded throughout the hours of sleep). Training load was quantified by session rating of perceived exertion (281.8 [117.9] to 369.0 [111.7] arbitrary units [a.u.]) and training impulse (77.5 [36.5] to 110.8 [31.6] a.u.), added to subjective well-being ratings (Hopper index = 11.6 [4.4] to 12.8 [3.2] a.u.). These variables were compared between training and rest days using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results: The log-transformed slow-wave sleep-episode cardiac autonomic activity (lnRMSSD [natural logarithm of the square root of the mean of the sum of the squares of differences between adjacent normal RR intervals] varying between 3.92 [0.57] and 4.20 [0.60] ms; ηp2=.16; 95% confidence interval, .01–.26), lnHF (natural logarithm of high frequency), lnLF (natural logarithm of low frequency), lnSD1 (natural logarithm of short-term beat-to-beat variability), and lnSD2 (natural logarithm of long-term beat-to-beat variability), and the nontransformed LF/HF were not different among night-training session days and rest days (P > .05). Considering the hour-by-hour method (lnRMSSD varying between 4.05 [0.35] and 4.33 [0.32] ms; ηp2=.46; 95% confidence interval, .26–.52), lnHF, lnLF, lnSD1, and lnSD2 and the nontransformed LF/HF were not different among night-training session days and rest days (P > .05). Conclusion: Late-night soccer training does not seem to affect nocturnal slow-wave sleep-episode and hour-by-hour heart-rate-variability indices in highly trained athletes.