Background Many sports athletes are injured every year. Sleep quality and quantity play an important role in this.
Objectives A systematic review was carried out on the correlation between sleep and the prevalence of sports injuries.
Design Systematic review
Methods Screening of articles in PubMed, Web of Science, Cinahl and Cochrane Library on the keywords ‘Sleep’, ‘Circadian rhythm’, ‘Insomnia’, ‘Jetlag’, ‘(Elite) athletes’, ‘(Sports) injuries’ and ‘Rehabilitation’ published between January 1, 2010 and December 3, 2020. Systematic review made after assessment of the articles for methodological quality.
Results In general, athletes do not meet the total sleep time recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the National Sleep Foundation. One of the reasons for an increased risk of sports injuries is sleep deprivation. Sometimes sleep extension is needed to partially repair this by scheduling a short nap of about 30 minutes in the morning or early afternoon. In addition to sleep quantity, poor sleep quality also plays a role in the risk of sports injuries. Both, sleep quantity and quality, are negatively affected by air travel over different time zones, which is further enhanced by a heavy training schedule.
Conclusion Poor sleep quantity and/or quality have a negative effect on the prevalence of sports injuries. Sleep deprivation adversely affects sports-related parameters including physiological biomarkers related to injuries. In addition to sleep quality and quantity, training modalities, injury history, sleep disorders, gender, well-being and health are also associated with injury risks. Further research is needed to clarify the correlation between sleep and injury risk and to formulate practical recommendations.
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