The effect of sleep deprivation on psychophysical performance and well-being is comprehensively investigated. Research investigating the effect of improved sleep is rare. Just as little exists about attempts to support athletic mental state and performance by improving sleep quality. This study aims to investigate whether sleep quality of top athletes can be improved by auditory brainwave entrainment and whether this leads to enhancements of post-sleep psychophysical states. In a pilot study, 15 young elite soccer players were stimulated for eight weeks during sleep with binaural beats around 2-8 Hz. Once a week after wake-up, participants completed three different questionnaires: a sleep diary, an adjective list for psychophysical and motivational state, and a self-assessment questionnaire for sleep and awakening quality. Fifteen sport students executed the same protocol sleeping on the same pillow, but without stimulation. Subjective ratings of sleep and awakening quality, sleepiness and motivational state were significantly improved only in the intervention group, but did not impact their perceived physical state. In summary, eight weeks of auditory stimulation with binaural beats improved perceived sleep quality and the post-sleep state of athletes, whereas the effect on physical level is assumed to occur in a time-delayed fashion. It seems to be worthwhile - to further elaborate long-time effects and consequences on physical and mental performance.
Keywords: Neurostimulation; athletic performance; auditory stimulation; mental state; sleepiness.