With work, school or uni generally taking up most of the time in our days, training for our sport is often completed in the early morning, or later stages of the evening.
Although this is very much unavoidable for most, it is still important to explore the effects that late training sessions can have on our recovery.
A recent study that followed a team of elite female soccer players found some differences of significance in sleeping habits/patterns on training days compared to rest days.
While previous studies generally discovered no meaningful effects to late training on sleep performance, these studies used training sessions in the late afternoon, at quite low intensities, therefore delivering results that may not apply to the majority of athletes.
After the general high intensity training sessions throughout the weeks of this study, it was reported that athletes experienced disturbed sleep, and higher heart rates compared to their rest days.
We can refer back to previous posts regarding breathing, heart rate and its effects on recovery to realise that an elevated heart rate during our sleep will have a less optimal effect on our recovery from games and training.
The study also found that training days were accompanied by less total sleep for that night. Although all athletes in the study managed to reach the recommended 7 hours of sleep, the total sleep duration was reduced by 45min on average after night time training.
Losing 45 minutes of sleep for somebody who may barely reach the recommended 7, may negatively impact performance the following day.
Late training times are often unavoidable, however their potential negative effects may require athletes to look a little closer at their sleep hygiene, and find a routine to help.
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