Sleep Deprivation and Injury Risk

Acute and chronic sleep deprivation both have negative results with athletic performance. It also poses a greater chance of injury.

Optimal sleep can help minimise athletic injury

Skaggs 2014

For most of us sleep is not taken too seriously. We forgo sleep for other priorities in our busy lives. As I previously posted about the effects of sleep on exercise.  This study demonstrates that a lack of sleep increases the chance of injury. While this studied sleep deprivation of adolescents it can be easily applied to the wider population.

Deprived sleep will lead to higher perceptions of effort and fatigue, impaired strength, endurance and accuracy. Gym go’ers to aspiring athletes should look at this aspect of their life more seriously to protect themselves.

For optimal recovery we should prioritise sleep as much as we do with other remedies like recovery drinks, stretching, ice baths and foam rolling. Tapping into the right amount of sleep will improve performance and recovery from injury.

Original Abstract

Background: Much attention has been given to the relationship between various training factors and athletic injuries, but no study has examined the impact of sleep deprivation on injury rates in young athletes. Information about sleep practices was gathered as part of a study designed to correlate various training practices with the risk of injury in adolescent athletes.

Methods: Informed consent for participation in an online survey of training practices and a review of injury records was obtained from 160 student athletes at a combined middle/high school (grades 7 to 12) and from their parents. Online surveys were completed by 112 adolescent athletes (70% completion rate), including 54 male and 58 female athletes with a mean age of 15 years (SD=1.5; range, 12 to 18 y). The students’ responses were then correlated with data obtained from a retrospective review of injury records maintained by the school’s athletic department.

Results: Multivariate analysis showed that hours of sleep per night and the grade in school were the best independent predictors of injury. Athletes who slept on average <8 hours per night were 1.7 times (95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.0; P=0.04) more likely to have had an injury compared with athletes who slept for ≥8 hours. For each additional grade in school, the athletes were 1.4 times more likely to have had an injury (95% confidence interval, 1.2-1.6; P<0.001).

Conclusion: Sleep deprivation and increasing grade in school appear to be associated with injuries in an adolescent athletic population. Encouraging young athletes to get optimal amounts of sleep may help protect them against athletic injuries.

Sleep Deprivation and Exercise

Trying to balance a busy life, the easiest thing to neglect can be sleep. Trying to exercise in this state can produce poor results.

Souiss 2013 & Rae 2017

How many of us burn the candle at both ends? Balancing a busy workload, maintaining a healthy and social lifestyle. What often leads to sleep deprivation.

These two studies demonstrate the impact of sleep deprivation on performance.

Souiss tested his judo athletes with a number of measures including grip strength, anaerobic capacity and isometric test of elbow flexion. Tests were performed at 9am and 4pm after a judo match. There were 3 scenarios, full sleep (7.5hrs), partial sleep early (10pm-2am) and late (3am-6am).

The results showed with a full sleep performance was better in the afternoon. But with both groups with only partial sleep performance dropped in both the morning and afternoon. The partial sleep group woken early performed worse later in the afternoon.

Rae’s study of cyclists, measuring their strength the day after high intensity interval training, one group with full sleep (7.5hrs) and partial sleep (4hrs). They tested 24 hours later, testing peak power output and surveying fatigue and motivation.

These results showed that with sleep deprivation peak performance output reduced compared with normal sleep. Also sleep deprived felt more tired and less motivated to train. This is just from one night of disrupted sleep.

Sitting back and thinking about the relationship of sleep and performance these results seem pretty obvious. Giving your self normal levels of sleep can improve performance and brain function. Try and make sleep more of a priority in the life balance. The choices we make, dictate the lives we live.

 

Souissi et al, (2013) Effects of time-of-day and partial sleep deprivation on short-term maximal performances of judo competitors. J Strength Cond Res.

Rae et al, (2017), One night of partial sleep deprivation impairs recovery from a single exercise training session. Eur J Appl Physiol.

Continue reading “Sleep Deprivation and Exercise”

Back Pain Myth Busting Part 5

This series of blogs is to help bring some clarity with what to expect with back pain and what the evidence is telling us.

And the final part of this Lower back pain blog is regarding factors in our life that we wouldn’t think influence our pain. Also, there is hope for people dealing with persistent back pain.

 

9 Sleep deprivation, stress, low mood and worry influence back pain

Some people feel that pain can only be mechanical, but there are a few other factors that affect our pain perception when we have lower back pain. Life events that cause increased levels of stress or depression can enhance the pain we feel. Understanding these factors and trying to take control of them will help. Studies have shown that with a cognitive approach dealing with stress’, fears relating to the injury and of movement will help lower pain scores and result in good outcomes (1)

 

10 Persistent back pain can get better

As previously noted in the last point and the other parts of this blog, there are many factors influencing back pain and not every individual is the same, requiring a tailored treatment plan to match their needs. Most people with persistent back pain will likely need to address non-physical factors as mentioned in the last point (2).

It is very common as most treatments only address one factor, if someone goes for a massage for their sore muscles, but fails to address their stress at work or fitness levels. You can understand why problems likes this become an “on + off” issue throughout life.

Identifying the different contributing factors for each individual and trying to address them, pain can be greatly reduced and people can live a happier and healthier life.

 

1.     O’Keeffe et al, (2015) Individualised cognitive functional therapy compared with a combined exercise and pain education class for patients with non-specific chronic low back pain: study protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial, BMJ Open

2.     O’Sullivan, P. (2012) ‘It’s time for change with the management of non-specific chronic low back pain‘, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 46(4), 224-227.