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Eur J Sport Sci. 2017 Mar;17(2):144-151. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2016.1221470. Epub 2016 Aug 30.

A novel sleep optimisation programme to improve athletes' well-being and performance.

Author information

a Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, A Flinders Centre of Research Excellence, Repatriation General Hospital , Daw Park , South Australia , Australia.
b NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence CIRUS and NEUROSLEEP, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, The University of Sydney , Sydney , Australia.
c Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women's Hospital , Boston , MA , USA.
d Adelaide Football Club , West Lakes , South Australia , Australia.



To improve well-being and performance indicators in a group of Australian Football League (AFL) players via a six-week sleep optimisation programme.


Prospective intervention study following observations suggestive of reduced sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness in an AFL group.


Athletes from the Adelaide Football Club were invited to participate if they had played AFL senior-level football for 1-5 years, or if they had excessive daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale [ESS] >10), measured via ESS. An initial education session explained normal sleep needs, and how to achieve increased sleep duration and quality. Participants (n = 25) received ongoing feedback on their sleep, and a mid-programme education and feedback session. Sleep duration, quality and related outcomes were measured during week one and at the conclusion of the six-week intervention period using sleep diaries, actigraphy, ESS, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Profile of Mood States, Training Distress Scale, Perceived Stress Scale and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task.


Sleep diaries demonstrated an increase in total sleep time of approximately 20 min (498.8 ± 53.8 to 518.7 ± 34.3; p < .05) and a 2% increase in sleep efficiency (p < 0.05). There was a corresponding increase in vigour (p < 0.001) and decrease in fatigue (p < 0.05).


Improvements in measures of sleep efficiency, fatigue and vigour indicate that a sleep optimisation programme may improve athletes' well-being. More research is required into the effects of sleep optimisation on athletic performance.


Fatigue; education; lifestyle; team sport

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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