Sleep is increasingly recognised as being an essential component of performance and recovery in elite athletes. Sleep may be negatively affected during training and competition as a result of factors such as the use of ergogenic aids including caffeine, the evening use of electronic devices and the potential presence of sleep disorders, all of which can also affect cognition, alertness and physical performance of athletes.
The five studies described in this Ph.D. thesis sought to:
- validate a wrist-activity monitor to provide automated measures of sleep;
- determine the effects on sleep and performance of elite judo athletes when electronic devices are temporarily removed;
- describe the changes in sleep, wake and alertness in elite rugby players before and after an evening Super Rugby game;
- describe game-related changes in saliva caffeine levels and sleep in elite rugby players before and after an evening Super Rugby game; and
- determine the prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders in a professional rugby team.