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Study Shows How Body Composition Affects Athletes’ Sleep

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Sarah Shoen

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For athletes, sleep is a key component of their physical recovery. Sleep allows the heart’s cells and tissue to repair, allowing the athlete’s body to recover after physical exertion.

While muscle volume has been understood to have an effect on sleep, a recent study from Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan found that athletes with greater muscle volume experienced worse sleep quality.

While muscle volume has been understood to have an effect on sleep, a recent study from Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan found that athletes with greater muscle volume experienced worse sleep quality.

The test group consisted of 17 male and 19 female collegiate basketball and track-and-field athletes. Each participant underwent home sleep monitoring as well as a body composition measurement.

Compared with the female athletes, the males typically had a greater muscle and fat mass. In turn, the males had lower sleep efficiency, longer sleep onset latency (it took them longer to fall asleep), and less REM sleep during a sleep session.

Additionally, male athletes also had a significantly lower percentage of slow-wave (N3) sleep, when research believes the body repairs and heals itself. This correlates to the finding that greater muscle mass impacted sleep quality.


    Only basketball and track-and-field athletes were examined, and it should be noted that the body composition of athletes differs according to sport. The results may be different in athletes with different distributions of muscle volume.

    This study hopes to shed light on the importance of sleep for athletic performance. “It is necessary to be sensitive to their complaints of poor sleep and intervene in sleep management according to body composition,” the study says.

    “It is necessary to be sensitive to their complaints of poor sleep and intervene in sleep management according to body composition.”

    These findings may affect how sleep is treated among athletic training during season as well as off-season, and different approaches may be necessary according to each athlete’s needs.

    One of the best ways for athletes to maintain a healthy relationship between their training and recovery is strong sleep hygiene, which includes consistent sleep and wake times, as well as avoiding electronics before bed.

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    About Our Editorial Team

    author
    Sarah Shoen

    News Writer

    Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

    About Our Editorial Team

    author
    Sarah Shoen

    News Writer

    Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

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