Sleep and Health Among Collegiate Student Athletes

Chest. 2019 Dec;156(6):1234-1245. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2019.08.1921. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


Although the link between sleep, health, and performance has been well documented, research on this link in collegiate student athletes is still in its infancy. A large body of evidence indicates that collegiate student athletes are not obtaining enough sleep, but less is known about their sleep quality, patterns, and the impact on health and performance. Consequently, short sleep negatively affects physical and mental health, as well as several domains of performance (ie, aerobic, anaerobic, sport-specific, cognitive). The majority of studies examining the links between short sleep, health, and performance have been conducted with healthy adults or noncollegiate athlete samples; however, collegiate student athletes have demands unlike those of their nonathlete or noncollegiate athlete counterparts. Poor sleep health and sleep disorders are of increasing concern among the college athlete population and have recently been recognized by national and international sports governing bodies. The purpose of this review is to summarize the available literature on sleep and its impact on health and performance among athletes, specifically addressing gaps where little to no data is available on collegiate student athletes. Consideration is also given to evidence-based sleep interventions that have been utilized with athletes, as well as recommendations for future research and intervention development.

Keywords: athlete; health; performance; sleep.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Hygiene*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Students
  • Universities