The acute effects of twenty-four hours of sleep loss on the performance of national-caliber male collegiate weightlifters

J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Nov;21(4):1146-54. doi: 10.1519/R-21606.1.


Currently, the degree to which sleep loss influences weightlifting performance is unknown. This study compared the effects of 24 hours of sleep loss on weightlifting performance and subjective ratings of psychological states pre-exercise and postexercise in national-caliber male collegiate weightlifters. Nine males performed a maximal weightlifting protocol following 24 hours of sleep loss and a night of normal sleep. The subjects participated in a randomized, counterbalanced design with each sleep condition separated by 7 days. Testosterone and cortisol levels were quantified prior to, immediately after, and 1 hour after the resistance training session. Additionally, profile of mood states and subjective sleepiness were evaluated at the same time points. The resistance training protocol consisted of several sets of snatches, clean and jerks, and front squats. Performance was evaluated as individual exercise volume load, training intensity and overall workout volume load, and training intensity. During each training session the maximum weight lifted for the snatch, clean and jerk, and front squat were noted. No significant differences were found for any of the performance variables. A significant decrease following the sleep condition was noted for cortisol concentration immediately after and 1 hour postexercise. Vigor, fatigue, confusion, total mood disturbance, and sleepiness were all significantly altered by sleep loss. These data suggest that 24 hours of sleep loss has no adverse effects on weightlifting performance. If an athlete is in an acute period of sleep loss, as noticed by negative mood disturbances, it may be more beneficial to focus on the psychological (motivation) rather than the physiological aspect of the sport.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Confusion / etiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diet
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion
  • Sleep Deprivation / blood
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Lifting*


  • Biomarkers
  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone