Subjective and objective sleep differ in male and female collegiate athletes.

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Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology


BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Despite the importance of sleep for athletic performance, there is a lack of normative sleep data and sex comparisons in collegiate athletes. The primary purpose of our study was to assess the prevalence of insufficient sleep in collegiate athletes, with a secondary aim to compare male and female athletes.

PROCEDURES: Participants included 121 collegiate athletes (65 men and 56 women) from six team sports and three individual sports. Subjective assessments of sleep included at-home sleep diary, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). Objective assessments of sleep included three consecutive off-season weekdays of wrist actigraphy to assess total sleep time (TST) and sleep efficiency (SE).

MAIN FINDINGS: Actigraphy revealed that 94% of student-athletes received/night, while 61% received/night. Subjective assessments revealed that 35% had PSQI >5, 28% had ISI scores >7, and 19% had ESS scores >10. Objective TST was not different between sexes (6.7±0.1 vs. 6.7±0.1 hours, p=0.99), but females demonstrated higher SE (87±1 vs. 82±1%, p

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of male and female collegiate athletes received less than age-recommended levels of sleep, and 44% subjectively reported poor sleep quality, mild severity insomnia, and/or excessive daytime sleepiness. Sex differences were observed in male and female collegiate athletes.

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Sleep Health