Introduction Insomnia symptoms are highly prevalent in athlete populations, with 64%-70% of athletes describing non-restorative sleep, frequent awakenings at night, daytime fatigue and sleepiness.3 4 8 9 11 12 14 Factors identified to contribute to poor sleep in athletes are intense schedule of training, competition and travelling, early morning training and night-time competition.5 6 9 11 15 The type of sport practiced is also a significant factor, with aesthetic sports and individual sports causing more sleep problems than team ball sports and team sports, respectively.13 16 The Cognitive Model of Insomnia explains that a transition from wake to sleep is impaired by cognitive over-activity and intrusive thoughts.7 The concept of hyperarousal has become a core component of contemporary explanatory models of insomnia.1 2 7 10 Our study aims to 1) explore the relationship between arousal, sleep vulnerability and sporting performance, and 2) to inform of what type of sports may select for higher levels of arousal and/or sleep vulnerability.
Methods The study is a controlled online survey designed to compare elite athletes and a non-competitive/lower-level competitive high exercising control group in eight different sections. The survey comprises validated questionnaires (IPAQ; PSQI; FIRST; PSAS; ESS; VAFS; 5-MEQ; TIPI; GAD-7) and additional questions designed to address topics such as napping, fatigue, training schedule and competition schedule.
Results Preliminary results (table 1) from the pilot study (n=6) show the average sleep time in both groups is at recommended guidelines. Competitive elite athletes report a higher level of arousal in the PSAS cognitive scale (21 vs 17.75), higher fatigue (8 vs 6.5) and a discrepancy in obtained and desired sleep time when compared to competitive non-elite athletes.
Discussion Elite competitive athletes show a significant cognitive hyperarousal profile, which could have implications for both performance and potential sleep interventions. There are limitations in interpretation of findings due to the small number of participants in the pilot survey.
Bonnet MH, Arand DL. Hyperarousal and insomnia: State of the science. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2010;14(1):9–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2009.05.002
Drummond SPA, Smith MT, Orff HJ, Chengazi V, Perlis M L. Functional imaging of the sleeping brain: Review of findings and implications for the study of insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2004;8(3):227–242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2003.10.005
Erlacher D, Ehrlenspiel F, Adegbesan OA, El-Din HG. Sleep habits in German athletes before important competitions or games. Journal of Sports Sciences 2011;29(8):859–866. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.565782
Fortier-Brochu É, Beaulieu-Bonneau S, Ivers H, Morin CM. Insomnia and daytime cognitive performance: A meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2012;16(1):83–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2011.03.008
Fullagar HHK, Skorski S, Duffield R, Julian R, Bartlett J, Meyer T. Impaired sleep and recovery after night matches in elite football players. Journal of Sports Sciences 2016;34(14):1333–1339. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2015.1135249
Gupta L, Morgan K, Gilchrist S. Does Elite Sport Degrade Sleep Quality? A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine 2017;47(7):1317–1333. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0650-6
Harvey A. A cognitive model of insomnia. Behaviour Research and Therapy 2002;40:869–893.
Juliff LE, Halson SL, Peiffer JJ. Understanding sleep disturbance in athletes prior to important competitions. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2015;18(1):13–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.02.007
Juliff LE, Peiffer JJ, Halson SL. Night Games and Sleep: Physiological, Neuroendocrine, and Psychometric Mechanisms. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 2018; 13(7):867–873. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0809
Kalmbach DA, Cuamatzi-Castelan SA, Tonnu Cv, Tran KM, Anderson JR, Drake CL. Hyperarousal and sleep reactivity in insomnia: current insights. Nature and Science of Sleep . 2018;10:193–201.
Lastella M, Lovell GP, Sargent C. Athletes’ precompetitive sleep behaviour and its relationship with subsequent precompetitive mood and performance. European Journal of Sport Science 2014; 14(SUPPL.1):123–130. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2012.660505
Lastella M, Roach GD, Halson SL, Sargent C. Sleep/wake behaviours of elite athletes from individual and team sports. European Journal of Sport Science 2015;15(2):94–100. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2014.932016
McCloughan LJ, Hanrahan SJ, Anderson R, Halson SR. Psychological recovery: Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), anxiety, and sleep in dancers. Performance Enhancement and Health 2016;4(1–2):12–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.peh.2015.11.002
Riemann D, Spiegelhalder K, Feige B, Voderholzer U, Berger M, Perlis M, Nissen C. The hyperarousal model of insomnia: A review of the concept and its evidence. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2010; 14(1):19–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2009.04.002
Sargent C, Lastella M, Halson SL, Roach GD. The impact of training schedules on the sleep and fatigue of elite athletes. Chronobiology International 2014;31(10):1160–1168. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2014.957306
Schaal K, Tafflet M, Nassif H, Thibault V, Pichard C, Alcotte M, Toussaint JF. Psychological balance in high level athletes: Gender-Based differences and sport-specific patterns. PLoS ONE 2011;6(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0019007
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.