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Sleep extension and performance in collegiate basketball athletes

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Summary of an article looking at sleep extension and its influence on performance in collegiate basketball athletes.


11 male collegiate basketball athletes aged 18-22 years (mean age 19.4 ± 1.4), USA.


Athletes slept their habitual number of hours for 2-4 weeks and then were asked to spend a minimum of 10 hours in bed per day for 5-7 weeks.

Outcome measures

  • Sleep duration per night and naps (journal + actigraph 24h/day on the wrist),
  • athletic performance (timed 282 feet sprint, 10 free throws and 15 3-point throws accuracy) after each practice
  • daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale; sore 0-24, the higher the more sleepy) measured at the beginning and end of the study
  • mood (Profile of Mood States) weekly
  • mental and physical wellbeing after each practice and game on a 10-point rating scale
  • reaction time (Psychomotor Vigilance Task) twice a day

Main results

  • Sleep duration: Players reported on average 470 minutes (7.8 hours) of sleep at baseline and 624 minutes (10.4 hours) at sleep extension. Actigraphy readings were on average 401 minutes (6.7 hours) at baseline and 508 minutes (8.5 hours) at the sleep extension period. This is 1-2 hours of difference between measurement methods.
  • Athletes improved their reaction times, daytime sleepiness and mood.
  • Athletes’ basketball performance improved significantly on all measures: sprint (from 16.2 to 15.5 seconds), free throws (from 7.9 to 8.8/10), 3-point throws (from 10.2 to 11.6/15), self-rating at practices (from 6.9 to 8.8/10) and games (from 7.8 to 8.8/10).

Take home message

For a clinician & coach
After extended sleep, collegiate male athletes improved in basketball performance, reaction times, daytime sleepiness and mood.
For a parent
After extended sleep, collegiate male athletes improved in basketball performance.
For an athlete
Extending sleep may improve basketball-related performance.

Original article

Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, Dement WC. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep. 2011 Jul 1;34(7):943-50.

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