Sleep Management Strategy and Performance in an Extreme Mountain Ultra-marathon

Res Sports Med. 2015;23(3):330-6. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2015.1040916. Epub 2015 May 28.


We intended to assess the relationship between sleep strategies and performance during the North-Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2013, to test the hypothesis that sleep management can influence athletic performance. Almost all runners specifically adopted sleep management strategies before the race. Among the finishers 72% didn't sleep at all during the race and 28% took a least one break for sleep. Non-sleepers completed the race faster than the sleepers (P = 0.0008). Race time was positively correlated with drowsiness (P < 0.0001) and negatively correlated with the number participations in this race (P = 0.0039). Runners who adopted a sleep management strategy based on increased sleep time before the race completed the race faster (P = 0.0258). Most finishers seemed to be aware of the importance of developing sleep management strategies and increasing sleep time some nights before the race appeared to be the most relevant strategy to improve performance.

Keywords: exercise; sleep; ultra-endurance performance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors