One night of sleep deprivation decreases treadmill endurance performance

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Sep;107(2):155-61. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-1103-9. Epub 2009 Jun 20.


The aim was to test the hypothesis that one night of sleep deprivation will impair pre-loaded 30 min endurance performance and alter the cardio-respiratory, thermoregulatory and perceptual responses to exercise. Eleven males completed two randomised trials separated by 7 days: once after normal sleep (496 (18) min: CON) and once following 30 h without sleep (SDEP). After 30 h participants performed a 30 min pre-load at 60% [VO(2 max) followed by a 30 min self-paced treadmill distance test. Speed, RPE, core temperature (T(re)), mean skin temperature (T(sk)), heart rate (HR) and respiratory parameters VO(2 max), VCO(2), VE, RER pre-load only) were measured. Less distance (P = 0.016, d = 0.23) was covered in the distance test after SDEP (6037 (759) 95%CI 5527 to 6547 m) compared with CON (6224 (818) 95%CI 5674 to 6773 m). SDEP did not significantly alter T(re) at rest or thermoregulatory responses during the pre-load including heat storage (0.8 degrees C) and T(sk). With the exception of raised VO(2) at 30 min on the pre-load, cardio-respiratory parameters, RPE and speed were not different between trials during the pre-load or distance test (distance test mean HR, CON 174 (12), SDEP 170 (13) beats min(-1): mean RPE, CON 14.8 (2.7), SDEP 14.9 (2.6)). In conclusion, one night of sleep deprivation decreased endurance performance with limited effect on pacing, cardio-respiratory or thermoregulatory function. Despite running less distance after sleep deprivation compared with control, participants' perception of effort was similar indicating that altered perception of effort may account for decreased endurance performance after a night without sleep.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Distance Perception / physiology
  • Down-Regulation / physiology
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult