One night of sleep restriction following heavy exercise impairs 3-km cycling time-trial performance in the morning

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Sep;42(9):909-915. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0698. Epub 2017 May 3.


The goal of this project was to examine the influence of a single night of sleep restriction following heavy exercise on cycling time-trial (TT) performance and skeletal muscle function in the morning. Seven recreational cyclists (age, 24 ± 7 years; peak oxygen consumption, 62 ± 4 mL·kg-1·min-1) completed 2 phases, each comprising evening (EX1) and next-morning (EX2) exercise sessions. EX1 and EX2 were separated by an assigned sleep condition: a full night of rest (CON; 7.1 ± 0.3 h of sleep) or sleep restriction through early waking (SR; 2.4 ± 0.2 h). EX1 comprised baseline testing (muscle soreness, isokinetic torque, and 3-km TT performance) followed by heavy exercise that included 60 min of high-intensity cycling intervals and resistance exercise. EX2 was performed to assess recovery from EX1 and included all baseline measures. Magnitude-based inferences were used to evaluate all variables. SR had a negative effect (very likely) on the change in 3-km TT performance compared with CON. Specifically, 3-km TT performance was 'very likely' slower during EX2 compared with EX1 following SR (-4.0% ± 3.0%), whereas 3-km TT performance was 'possibly' slower during EX2 (vs. EX1) following CON (-0.5% ± 3.0%). Sleep condition did not influence changes in peak torque or muscle soreness from EX1 to EX2. A single night of sleep restriction following heavy exercise had marked consequences on 3-km TT performance the next morning. Because occasional sleep loss is likely, strategies to ameliorate the consequences of sleep loss on performance should be investigated.

Keywords: cycling; cyclisme; ergolytic; ergolytique; exercise recovery; insuffisance de sommeil; performance au contre-la-montre; restriction de sommeil; récupération après un exercice; sleep impairment; sleep restriction; time trial performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Bicycling
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Myalgia / etiology
  • Recreation
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*
  • Torque
  • Young Adult