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Benita J. Lalor, Shona L. Halson, Jacqueline Tran, Justin G. Kemp, and Stuart J. Cormack

Purpose: To assess the impact of match-start time and days relative to match compared with the habitual sleep characteristics of elite Australian Football (AF) players. Methods: 45 elite male AF players were assessed during the preseason (habitual) and across 4 home matches during the season. Players wore an activity monitor the night before (−1), night of (0), 1 night after (+1), and 2 nights (+2) after each match and completed a self-reported rating of sleep quality. A 2-way ANOVA with Tukey post hoc was used to determine differences in sleep characteristics between match-start times and days relative to the match. Two-way nested ANOVA was conducted to examine differences between competition and habitual phases. Effect size ± 90% confidence interval (ES ± 90% CI) was calculated to quantify the magnitude of pairwise differences. Results: Differences observed in sleep-onset latency (ES = 0.11 ± 0.16), sleep rating (ES = 0.08 ± 0.14), and sleep duration (ES = 0.08 ± 0.01) between competition and habitual periods were trivial. Sleep efficiency was almost certainly higher during competition than habitual, but this was not reflected in the subjective rating of sleep quality. Conclusions: Elite AF competition does not cause substantial disruption to sleep characteristics compared with habitual sleep. While match-start time has some impact on sleep variables, it appears that the match itself is more of a disruption than the start time. Subjective ratings of sleep from well-being questionnaires appear limited in their ability to accurately provide an indication of sleep quality.

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Peter D. Kupcis, Gary J. Slater, Cathryn L. Pruscino, and Justin G. Kemp

Purpose:

The effect of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on prerace hydration status and on 2000 m ergometer performance in elite lightweight rowers was examined using a randomized, cross-over, double-blinded design.

Methods:

To simulate body mass (BM) management strategies common to lightweight rowing, oarsmen reduced BM by approx. 4% in the 24 h preceding the trials, and, in the 2 h before performance, undertook nutritional recovery consisting of mean 43.2 kJ/kg, 2.2 g of CHO per kilogram, 31.8 mg of Na+ per kilogram, 24.3 mL of H2O per kilogram, and NaHCO3 (0.3 g of NaHCO3 per kilogram BM) or placebo (PL; 0.15 g of corn flour per kilogram BM) at 70 to 90 min before racing.

Results:

At 25 min before performance, NaHCO3 had increased blood pH (7.48 ± 0.02 vs PL: 7.41 ± 0.03, P = .005) and bicarbonate concentrations (29.1 ± 1.8 vs PL: 23.9 ± 1.6 mmol/L, P < .001), whereas BM, urine specific gravity, and plasma volume changes were similar between trials. Rowing ergometer times were similar between trials (NaHCO3: 397.8 ± 12.6; PL: 398.6 ± 13.8 s, P = .417), whereas posttest bicarbonate (11.6 ± 2.3 vs 9.4 ± 1.8 mmol/L, P = .003) and lactate concentration increases (13.4 ± 1.7 vs 11.9 ± 1.9 mmol/L, P = .001) were greater with NaHCO3.

Conclusion:

Sodium bicarbonate did not further enhance rehydration or performance in lightweight rowers when undertaking recommended post-weigh-in nutritional recovery strategies.

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Benita J. Lalor, Shona L. Halson, Jacqueline Tran, Justin G. Kemp, and Stuart J. Cormack

Purpose: To assess relationships between objective sleep characteristics, external training loads, and subjective ratings of well-being in elite Australian football (AF) players. Methods: A total of 38 elite male AF players recorded objective sleep characteristics over a 15-day period using an activity monitor. External load was assessed during main field sessions, and ratings of well-being were provided each morning. Canonical correlation analysis was used to create canonical dimensions for each variable set (sleep, well-being, and external load). Relationships between dimensions representing sleep, external load, and well-being were quantified using Pearson r. Results: Canonical correlations were moderate between pretraining sleep and external training load (r = .32–.49), pretraining sleep and well-being (r = .32), and well-being and posttraining sleep (r = .36). Moderate to strong correlations were observed between dimensions representing external training load and posttraining sleep (r = .31–.67), and well-being and external training load (r = .32–.67). Player load and Player load 2D (PL2D) showed the greatest association to pretraining and posttraining objective sleep characteristics and well-being. Fragmented sleep was associated with players completing the following training with a higher PL2D. Conclusions: Maximum speed, player load, and PL2D were the common associations between objective sleep characteristics and well-being in AF players. Improving pretraining sleep quality and quantity may have a positive impact on AF players’ well-being and movement strategy during field sessions. Following training sessions that have high maximum speed and PL2D, the increased requirement for sleep should be considered by ensuring that subsequent sessions do not start earlier than required.

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Benita J. Lalor, Jacqueline Tran, Shona L. Halson, Justin G. Kemp, and Stuart J. Cormack

Purpose: To determine the impact of the quality and quantity of sleep during an international flight on subsequent objective sleep characteristics, training and match-day load, self-reported well-being, and perceptions of jet lag of elite female cricketers during an International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup. Methods: In-flight and tournament objective sleep characteristics of 11 elite female cricketers were assessed using activity monitors. Seated in business class, players traveled west from Melbourne, Australia, to Chennai, India. The outbound flight departed Melbourne at 3:30 AM with a stopover in Dubai for 2 hours. The arrival time in Chennai was 8:10 PM local time (1:40 AM in Melbourne). The total travel time was 19 hours 35 minutes. Perceptual ratings of jet lag, well-being, and training and competition load were collected. To determine the impact of in-flight sleep on tournament measures, a median split was used to create subsamples based on (1) in-flight sleep quantity and (2) in-flight sleep quality (2 groups: higher vs lower). Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the bivariate associations between sleep measures, self-reported well-being, perceptual measures of jet lag, and internal training and match-day load. Results: Mean duration and efficiency of in-flight sleep bouts were 4.72 hours and 87.45%, respectively. Aggregated in-flight sleep duration was 14.64 + 3.56 hours. Players with higher in-flight sleep efficiency reported higher ratings for fatigue (ie, lower perceived fatigue) during the tournament period. Tournament sleep duration was longer, and bed and wake times were earlier compared with habitual. Compared with other nights during the tournament, sleep duration was shorter following matches. Conclusions: Maximizing in-flight sleep quality and quantity appears to have implications for recovery and sleep exhibited during competition. Sleep duration was longer than habitual except for the night of a match, which suggests that T20 matches may disrupt sleep duration.