Sleep Monitoring in Athletes: Motivation, Methods, Miscalculations and Why it Matters

Sports Med. 2019 Oct;49(10):1487-1497. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01119-4.


It is increasingly recognised that many athletes have poor sleep quantity and/or quality despite the advances in knowledge regarding the importance of sleep for an athletic population. The majority of research in sleep assessment and treatment (within the general population) focuses on the medical disorder insomnia, and therefore may not be specifically relevant for athletes. Further, there are currently no guidelines for the standardisation of assessment, intervention, feedback and behaviour change strategies in athletes. This review outlines potential reasons for sleep disturbances in athletes, advantages and disadvantages of a range of methods to assess sleep (polysomnography, activity monitoring, consumer sleep technology, sleep diaries and questionnaires), considerations for the provision of feedback, a description of potential interventions and behaviour change challenges and strategies. The objective of this review is to provide practitioners with the latest scientific evidence in an area rapidly progressing in awareness, consumerism and athlete engagement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Athletes*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Diaries as Topic
  • Fitness Trackers
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications
  • Motivation
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Sleep*
  • Smartphone
  • Surveys and Questionnaires