Adequate sleep is paramount to athlete recovery and performance, however little is know about the typical sleep patterns of professional rugby union players during home based training and match-play in the competitive season. AIM: The aim of the present study was to monitor changes in sleep quantity and efficiency of elite male rugby union players over a twelve night period, which included training and two competitive matches. METHODS: A total of ten elite male rugby union players from a selected team, participated in the study. Athletes sleep quantity and efficiency was monitored over a twelve night period using the Bodymedia sensewear units (BSU). RESULTS: There was a significant difference in sleep quantity (p <0.05) on game nights compared to non game night, with players sleeping less on game nights. Time to sleep on game nights was also significantly (p <0.05) later than non game nights. There was no significant difference in sleep efficiency or time at wake over the twelve night period. Sleep efficiency is defined as a percentage score calculated by incorporating movement and physiological measures over the sleep duration as determined by the BSU. Also there was no significant difference between sleep parameters on the game nights. The findings show players have significantly (p <0.05) reduced sleep following a home game, which is of concern considering the established negative influence of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance. CONCLUSION: This data may assist coaching, medical and performance staff to develop and implement team and individualised sleep monitoring regimes to optimise training and on-field performance.
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness / Vol. 56, No. 5, pp.565-571