Sleep and circadian rhythms in children and adolescents: relevance for athletic performance of young people

Clin Sports Med. 2005 Apr;24(2):319-28, x. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2004.12.001.


The amount and timing of sleep play significant roles in forming a solid foundation for competitive performance in young athletes. As children mature into and through adolescence, their need for sleep does not decline substantially, although the opportunity to sleep is limited by lifestyle choices, academic and practice schedules, and compelling changes in the biological processes. The biological changes include a more "permissive" pace for the accumulation of sleep pressure across the day in older adolescents and a longer day length in the more mature. These factors all favor later bedtimes and rising times as children pass into adolescence, and a concomitant delay in the optimal timing for waking activities. Among the important threats to athletic performance are insufficient sleep during training and competition and poor appreciation for the best time of day for competitive activities. The specific consequences of these issues for individual athletes are not clear, though when considering young people as a group, support for adequate sleep is a rational intervention to maximize performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child Rearing
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gonadotropins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Melatonin / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Sports / psychology
  • Wakefulness / physiology


  • Gonadotropins
  • Melatonin