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P068 Sleep quality in athletes and exercisers
  1. Rui Pereira,
  2. Iuliana Hartescu,
  3. Robin Jackson and
  4. Kevin Morgan
  1. Clinical Sleep Research Unit, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK


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.

Abstract P068 Table 1

Results from pilot study of abstract ‘sleep quality in athletes and exercisers’

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.


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