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Effects of Napping on Alertness, Cognitive, and Physical Outcomes of Karate Athletes

Daaloul, Houda1; Souissi, Nizar2; Davenne, Damien1

doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001786
Original Investigation: PDF Only

Purpose It has been suggested that napping is the best recovery strategy for athletes. However, researches on the impacts of napping on athletic performances are scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a 30-minute nap following a partial sleep deprivation, or a normal night condition, on alertness, fatigue, and cognitive and physical outcomes.

Methods Thirteen national-level male karate athletes were randomized to experience nap and no-nap conditions, after either a reference or a partial sleep deprivation night. The nap lasted 30 minutes at 13:00. The post-nap testing session started at 14:00 by quantifying subjective alertness and fatigue. Cognitive and physical performances were respectively measured before and after the Karate Specific Test (KST) by Simple Reaction Time (SRT) test, Lower Reaction Test (LRT), Mental Rotation Test (MRT), Squat Jump (SJ) and Counter Movement Jump (CMJ) tests.

Results After a reference night, the nap improved alertness and cognitive outcomes (SRT, LRT, and MRT). No effects on subjective fatigue and physical performances were found. After a partial-sleep deprivation, the nap restored subjective alertness and the decrement in performances caused by sleep loss in most of the tests (MRT, LRT, and KST), but no effects were observed in subjective fatigue and CMJ. After the fatigue induced by KST, there was an ergogenic effect of the nap on the physical performances (CMJ, and SJ), and a partial psychogenic effect on the cognitive performances (LRT).

Conclusion A 30-minute nap enhances cognitive outcomes. It is also an effective strategy to overcome the cognitive and physical deteriorations in performances caused either by sleep loss or by fatigue induced by exhaustive trainings in the afternoon.

1 Normandie University, UNICAEN, INSERM, COMETE, Caen, France

2 National Observatory of Sport, ONS, Tunis, Tunisia

Address for correspondence: Professor Damien Davenne, COMETE, PFRS, 2 rue des Rochambelles, F-14032 CAEN, FRANCE. E-mail: Damien.davenne@unicaen.fr. Tel (+33) 2 31 56 81 32

This research was financially supported by the laboratory UMR 1075 INSERM/Unicaen, COMETE. No conflicting financial, consultant, institutional, or other interests exist. Results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by the American College of Sports Medicine. The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.

Accepted for Publication: 14 August 2018.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine