Sleep is generally regarded important for maintaining one’s physical and psychological well-being. For the competitive athlete, many factors may negatively impact on his or her sleep, possibly resulting in compromised athletic performance. These factors include alterations in diet, changes in ambient temperature and/or altitude, traveling across time zones, and anxiety. In this article, an attempt is made to synthesize the relevant knowledge with regard to sleep and athletic performance. Sleep and performance are highly individual specific, with many interdependent factors influencing the expression of both variables. Recommendations for future research that addresses the unique demands of athletes are presented.
Jacqueline C. Savis is with the Department of Human Services, Program Area of Health & Physical Education at the University of Virginia, 203 Memorial Gymnasium, Charlottesville, VA 22903.