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In recent years, research examining the sleep of elite athletes has increased. This is predominantly due to the importance sleep has on an athlete’s psychological and physiological well-being. Despite the growing importance of sleep in athletes, the amount and quality of sleep coaches obtain has been neglected. The aim of this study was to examine the sleep of a head coach and compare it to his team. The sleep of 16 members of the Australian U/20 men’s football team (age 18.8 ± 0.9 years) and the head coach (age 55 years) was monitored using wrist activity monitors and self-report sleep diaries. Sleep was examined for 15 nights in preparation for the 2011 U/20 FIFA World Cup. The head coach went to bed earlier (23:30 h ± 65 min vs. 23:36 h ± 30 min), spent less time in bed (8.4 ± 1.3 h vs. 8.6 ± 1.0 h), obtained less sleep per night (6.4 ± 1.5 h vs. 6.6 ± 0.8 h), and woke up earlier (07:54 h ± 46 min vs. 08:12 h ± 52 min) than his team. In general, the head coach obtained less sleep than his team and slept considerably poorer the night before important games. Future investigations need to examine the extent to which sleep impairs psychological state, decision-making and overall coaching performance.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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