Evidence of favorable sleep-EEG patterns in adolescent male vigorous football players compared to controls

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;11(2 Pt 2):465-75. doi: 10.1080/15622970903079820.


Sleep is crucial for psychological functioning and daily performance. Both lay and scientific opinion hold that physical activity encourages restorative sleep. However, research on this in adolescence is limited. The aim of the present study was to compare sleep-EEG patterns of vigorous exercisers and controls. Twelve adolescent male football players (14 h of vigorous exercise per week) and 12 controls (1.5 h of vigorous exercise per week) matched for gender, age (about 16 years), and educational level, took part in the study. Sleep-EEG registration was performed following a day without exercise. Sleep-EEG analyses revealed that, compared to controls, the football players showed greater sleep efficiency, shortened sleep onset latency, less awakenings after sleep onset, more stage 4, and less REM sleep. Importantly, this pattern of results emerged following a day without exercise. Moreover, vigorous football players reported better daily performance and displayed less weeknight (Sunday to Thursday) to weekend night (Friday and Saturday nights) variation. Findings suggest that for the football players, vigorous exercise seemed to lead to longer-lasting electrophysiological change in brain activity irrespective of acute bouts of exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes* / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electroencephalography
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors