eCite Digital Repository

Resting to recover: Influence of sleep extension on recovery following high-intensity exercise


Pitchford, NW and Bishop, DJ and Bartlett, JD, Resting to recover: Influence of sleep extension on recovery following high-intensity exercise, 22nd Annual Congress of the European College of Sports Science, 5-8 July, Germany (2017) [Conference Extract]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

Official URL:


Introduction: Despite the importance of sleep for recovery (Halson, 2014), athletes fail to meet current sleep recommendations (Lastella et al., 2014). This issue may be accentuated by sleeping in unfamiliar environments (Pitchford et al., 2017), during periods of high cumulative training loads (Pitchford et al., Unpublished) and by restrictive training schedules (Kölling et al., 2016). Our lab has data indicating that athletes obtain increased sleep when given the opportunity (Pitchford et al., Unpublished), yet the influences of increased sleep on post-exercise recovery are unknown. This study examined the influence of sleep extension by way of increased overnight sleep opportunities and daytime napping on physiological and psychometric measures of recovery following high-intensity intermittent running exercise (HIIE).

Methods: In a randomised repeated measures design, participants completed three trials. Following a bout of HIIE participants slept in laboratory conditions for 1 night of restricted sleep (6h in bed) followed by 3 intervention nights of 8h time in bed (CON), 10h time in bed (EXT) and 8h time in bed plus a 2h nap each afternoon (NAP). Participants were assessed for peak isometric knee extensor torque production (PkTq), sprint time (5m, 10m and 20m splits), endurance (YoYo IR1) performance, subjective recovery and profile of mood states (POMS) at Pre, 0h, 1h, 2h, 12h, 36h, 60h and 84h post-HIIE. Wrist-watch actigraphy measured total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE) and wake after sleep onset (WASO). Multiple multi-level linear mixed models and Least Squares mean tests identified whether standardised differences (<0.20 trivial, 0.21–0.60 small, 0.61–1.20 moderate, 1.21-2.0 large and >2.1 very large) were larger than the smallest worthwhile change.

Results: TST was very likely increased for both NAP and EXT compared to CON. However, this was accompanied by likely small to very likely moderate increases in WASO from 36h to 84h post-HIIE. Whilst all groups displayed a likely small reduction in PkTq production post-HIIE, NAP had a likely small positive effect on PkTq at +36 h compared to CON. Sprint times recovered fully in EXT and NAP, such that EXT displayed very likely large and NAP likely moderately faster 5 m, very likely large and likely moderately faster 10 m, respectively, and very likely large and likely moderately faster 20 m splits, respectively, compared to CON. Both NAP and EXT caused a likely small increase in stress compared to CON.

Discussion: These data show that when presented with the opportunity, sleep time can successfully be increased, which may positively influence the recovery of muscle function, sprint performance and stress. These factors are crucial components of recovery and if not restored, can have negative influences on athletic performance. Increasing total sleep time following exercise may be of benefit to athletes involved in tournament-like competition and/or multiple games in a week, where the emphasis is on recovery.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Sleep extension, recovery
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Sports science and exercise
Research Field:Exercise physiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Pitchford, NW (Dr Nathan Pitchford)
ID Code:132257
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2019-04-30
Last Modified:2019-05-30
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page