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Sleep and performance during a preseason in elite rugby union athletes

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posted on 03.05.2021, 01:20 by Angus R Teece, Christos K Argus, Nicholas Gill, Martyn Beaven, Ian C Dunican, Matthew Driller
Background: Preseason training optimises adaptations in the physical qualities required in rugby union athletes. Sleep can be compromised during periods of intensified training. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between sleep quantity and changes in physical performance over a preseason phase in professional rugby union athletes. Methods: Twenty-nine professional rugby union athletes (Mean ± SD, age: 23 ± 3 years) had their sleep duration monitored for 3 weeks using wrist actigraphy. Strength and speed were assessed at baseline and at week 3. Aerobic capacity and body composition were assessed at baseline, at week 3 and at week 5. Participants were stratified into 2 groups for analysis: <7 h 30 min sleep per night (LOW, n = 15) and >7 h 30 min sleep per night (HIGH, n = 14). Results: A significant group x time interaction was determined for aerobic capacity (p = 0.02, d = 1.25) at week 3 and for skinfolds at week 3 (p < 0.01, d = 0.58) and at week 5 (p = 0.02, d = 0.92), in favour of the HIGH sleep group. No differences were evident between groups for strength or speed measures (p ≥ 0.05). Conclusion: This study highlights that longer sleep duration during the preseason may assist in enhancing physical qualities including aerobic capacity and body composition in elite rugby union athletes.

History

Publication Date

27/04/2021

Journal

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Volume

18

Issue

9

Article Number

4612

Pagination

(p. 1-13)

Publisher

MDPI

ISSN

1661-7827

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The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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