Sleep is an essential component of health and well-being, with significant impacts on physical development, emotional regulation, cognitive performance, and quality of life. Along with being an integral part of the recovery and adaptive process between bouts of exercise, accumulating evidence suggests that increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality in athletes are associated with improved performance and competitive success. In addition, better sleep may reduce the risk of both injury and illness in athletes, not only optimizing health but also potentially enhancing performance through increased participation in training. Despite this, most studies have found that athletes fail to obtain the recommended amount of sleep, threatening both performance and health. Athletes face a number of obstacles that can reduce the likelihood of obtaining proper sleep, such as training and competition schedules, travel, stress, academic demands, and overtraining. In addition, athletes have been found to demonstrate poor self-assessment of their sleep duration and quality. In light of this, athletes may require more careful monitoring and intervention to identify individuals at risk and promote proper sleep to improve both performance and overall health. This review attempts to highlight the recent literature regarding sleep issues in athletes, the effects of sleep on athletic performance, and interventions to enhance proper sleep in athletes.
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI
Address for correspondence: Andrew Watson, MD, MS, Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, 1685 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53705; E-mail: Watson@ortho.wisc.edu.