Circadian rhythms in sports performance--an update

Chronobiol Int. 2005;22(1):21-44. doi: 10.1081/cbi-200041039.


We discuss current knowledge on the description, impact, and underlying causes of circadian rhythmicity in sports performance. We argue that there is a wealth of information from both applied and experimental work, which, when considered together, suggests that sports performance is affected by time of day in normal entrained conditions and that the variation has at least some input from endogenous mechanisms. Nevertheless, precise information on the relative importance of endogenous and exogenous factors is lacking. No single study can answer both the applied and basic research questions that are relevant to this topic, but an appropriate mixture of real-world research on rhythm disturbances and tightly controlled experiments involving forced desynchronization protocols is needed. Important issues, which should be considered by any chronobiologist interested in sports and exercise, include how representative the study sample and the selected performance tests are, test-retest reliability, as well as overall design of the experiment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Biological Clocks
  • Chronobiology Phenomena
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Exercise
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Jet Lag Syndrome
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Sleep
  • Sports*
  • Time Factors