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Wake up call for collegiate athlete sleep: narrative review and consensus recommendations from the NCAA Interassociation Task Force on Sleep and Wellness
  1. Emily Kroshus1,2,
  2. Jessica Wagner3,
  3. David Wyrick4,
  4. Amy Athey5,
  5. Lydia Bell,
  6. Holly J Benjamin6,
  7. Michael A Grandner7,
  8. Christopher E Kline8,
  9. Jessica M Mohler9,
  10. J Roxanne Prichard10,
  11. Nathaniel F Watson11,
  12. Brian Hainline3
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2 Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3 National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  4. 4 Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
  5. 5 University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
  6. 6 Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  7. 7 Department of Psychiatry, Univeristy of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
  8. 8 Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  9. 9 US Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland, USA
  10. 10 Department of Psychology, University of St Thomas, St Thomas, Minnesota, USA
  11. 11 Department of Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emily Kroshus; ekroshus{at}, ekroshus{at}


Sleep is an important determinant of collegiate athlete health, well-being and performance. However, collegiate athlete social and physical environments are often not conducive to obtaining restorative sleep. Traditionally, sleep has not been a primary focus of collegiate athletic training and is neglected due to competing academic, athletic and social demands. Collegiate athletics departments are well positioned to facilitate better sleep culture for their athletes. Recognising the lack of evidence-based or consensus-based guidelines for sleep management and restorative sleep for collegiate athletes, the National Collegiate Athletic Association hosted a sleep summit in 2017. Members of the Interassociation Task Force on Sleep and Wellness reviewed current data related to collegiate athlete sleep and aimed to develop consensus recommendations on sleep management and restorative sleep using the Delphi method. In this paper, we provide a narrative review of four topics central to collegiate athlete sleep: (1) sleep patterns and disorders among collegiate athletes; (2) sleep and optimal functioning among athletes; (3) screening, tracking and assessment of athlete sleep; and (4) interventions to improve sleep. We also present five consensus recommendations for colleges to improve their athletes’ sleep.

  • sleep
  • consensus
  • health promotion
  • implementation
  • review

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  • Contributors All authors have made substantial contributions to either conception and design or analysis and interpretation of data, drafting or revision of the article and have seen and given final approval of the submission.

  • Funding NCAA, Sport Science Institute.

  • Competing interests NFW reports consulting fees from SleepScore Labs, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Harmony Biosciences. MG reports grants from Kemin Foods, grants from Nexalin Technology, personal fees from Fitbit, personal fees from Natrol LC, personal fees from Curaegis Technologies, personal fees from Thrive Global, outside the submitted work.

  • Ethics approval National Collegiate Athletic Association Research Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data are available from the corresponding author on request.

  • Collaborators National Collegiate Athletic Association Interassociation Task Force on Sleep and Wellness.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.