In this episode of S4P we take a look at “Do players and staff sleep more during the pre- or competitive season of elite rugby league?” by Johnpaul Caia, Tannath J. Scott, Shona L. Halson & Vincent G. KellyThis study establishes the sleep behaviour of players and staff during the pre- and competitive seasons of elite rugby league. For seven days during both the pre- and competitive seasons, seven rugby league players and nine full-time staff from one professional Australian rugby league club had their sleep monitored via wrist actigraphy and self-report sleep diaries. Two-way
repeated measures analysis of variance determined differences between the pre- and competitive season in players and staff, with effect sizes (ES) used to interpret the practical magnitude of differences. Findings show an earlier bedtime and wake time for players (−34 min, ES = 1.5; ±0.5 and −39 min, 2.1; ±0.5 respectively) and staff (−29 min, ES = 0.8; ±0.3
and −35 min, ES = 1.7; ±0.4 respectively) during pre-season when compared to the competitive season. Despite this, no differences were seen when considering the amount of time in bed, sleep duration or sleep efficiency obtained between the pre- and competitive seasons. Our results suggest that early morning training sessions scheduled during pre-season
advances wake time in elite rugby league. However, both players and staff can aim to avoid reductions in sleep duration and sleep efficiency with subsequent adjustment of nighttime sleep patterns. This may be particularly pertinent for staff, who wake earlier than players during both the pre- and competitive seasons.
Dr Ian Dunican