Sleep and Athletic Performance 



Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness in Belfield provides servicing to many near by Inner West suburbs including Belmore, Strathfield and Croydon park. See our weekly blog below if you are interested in new research, facts, general information or ideas.

How important is sleep to athletic performance?? Imagine the night before a grand final. You're wide awake looking at the clock and wishing that you were counting sheep, rather than staring at the ceiling thinking of tomorrow. The more the clock ticks, the more nervous you get, thinking this lack of sleep is going to impact you in tomorrow’s game...


Sleep is a hot topic of debate when it comes to affecting ones performance. Some believe that you must get a full night sleep between 8-10h to be able to perform at your best when it comes to sport, where others will tell you that sleep isn’t that necessary to perform at your best. Through analysis of the systematic review conducted by (Fullagar et al, 2015), both of these theories are right and wrong.

This paper looks at the effects of sleep deprivation (SD) and sleep restriction (SR), on a group and what effects it has on performance. When looking at SR it was found that results were conflicting, but certain trends emerged. These trends were that the physiological response of the body didn’t change but rather one’s perception of the task was to view it as more difficult, reducing their drive to be able to perform it at the required intensity. As well as this, when performing sports such as darts, tennis and being a handball goal keeper which requires an increased concentration, high cognitive reliance and fine motor control; those with restricted sleep were worse off than one performing a sport involving more gross motor skills such as swimming.

Although these trends did emerge through the study, there is still conflicting evidence about what effect reducing sleep actually has on sports performance. So if you find yourself having a sleepless night before a big game or event, just know that your body can still work at its max ability and that time should be spent before a game focusing on getting your head right and getting into a good concentrated state of mind and trusting that your body can work at its best ability.


This information can be used to gain a better understanding on sleep and athletic performance. To find out more about how we can help you, book in for a consultation you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.


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Written by James


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