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Routine, Routine, Routine: Sleep Regularity and its Association with Sleep Metrics in Professional Rugby Union Athletes

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posted on 2024-05-20, 06:31 authored by Angus Teece, Christopher Martyn Beaven, Haresh SuppiahHaresh Suppiah, Christos K Argus, Nicholas Gill, Matthew DrillerMatthew Driller

Background: Maintaining a consistent sleep and wake time is often reported as a key component of circadian rhythmicity and quality sleep. However, the impact of sleep onset and offset time variability on overall sleep outcomes are underreported in elite athlete populations. This study investigated the relationship between sleep onset and offset time variability using the sleep regularity index (SRI) and measures of sleep and well-being in professional rugby union athletes. Twenty-three professional male rugby union athletes (mean ± SD, age: 23 ± 3 y) underwent sleep monitoring via wrist actigraphy for three weeks during a pre-season phase of training and completed a daily wellness questionnaire. Median SRI was calculated and used to stratify the trainees into two quantile groups: >76.4 SRI (Regular, n = 11) and < 76.4 SRI (Irregular, n = 12). Results: The regular sleep group showed significantly longer total sleep duration (p = 0.02, d = 0.97) compared to the irregular group (7:42 ± 0:29 vs. 7:18 ± 0:20 h: min per night, respectively). Furthermore, while not statistically significant, the regular sleep group showed greater sleep efficiency and less wake episodes compared to irregular sleepers, as demonstrated by moderate effect sizes (d = 0.71 and 0.69, respectively). Conclusions: The results from this study indicate that minimizing variability in sleep onset and offset time is beneficial for increasing sleep duration and may improve sleep efficiency during pre-season training in elite male rugby union athletes. This study provides evidence for the importance of including sleep-wake routines as a key component of sleep education interventions.


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Sports Medicine - Open



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Springer Nature



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