Athletes in middle and high school who slept 8 hours or more per night were almost 70% less likely to be injured than athletes who got less sleep, according to study results presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
“While other studies have shown that lack of sleep can affect cognitive skills and motor skills, nobody has looked at this subject in terms of the adolescent athletic population,” researcher Matthew D. Milewski, MD, of Elite Sports Medicine, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Farmington, Conn., said in a press release.
Matthew D. Milewski
Researchers studied 112 athletes (58 females; mean age, 15 years) from a private combined school, using an online survey of training practices and a retrospective review of their reported injuries as recorded by school athletic trainers. Number of sports played, time committed to athletics at school and outside of school during the past year, utilization of private coaches, strength training, average amount of sleep per night and subjective enjoyment of sports participation were included on the survey.
The decreased likelihood of injury was associated with hours of sleep per night (P=.008), while increased likelihood of injury showed an association with increasing school grade (P<.001). In multivariate analysis, school grade and nightly hours of sleep independently predicted injury. The athletes who slept at least 8 hours per night were 68% less likely to be injured, compared with athletes who slept less (P=.04). Injury risk increased 2.3 times (P<.0001) for each additional school grade.
Associations between injury history and gender, weeks of participation per school year, weekly hours of participation, number of sports, strength training, private coaching and assessment of “having fun in sports” were not significant.
“When we started this study, we thought the amount of sports played, year-round play and increased specialization would be much more important for injury risk,” Milewski said. “What we found is that the two most important facts were hours of sleep and grade in school.”
For more information:
Milewski MD. Lack of Sleep Is Associated with Increased Risk of Injury in Adolescent Athletes. Presented at: American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 20-23, New Orleans.