Frequent air travel and the condensed game schedule typical of a National Basketball Association (NBA) team during the season, often results in accompanying sleep disturbances related to sleep length, sleep quality, and sleep timing (with highly harmful impacts on health, both physical and mental). These issues are not only problematic for NBA players, but also the coaches, training staff, and management support. In this narrative review, we summarize the detrimental effects that this travel and game schedule could have on NBA team members' sleep, as well as their physical and mental health. Multiple peer-reviewed articles address the role of sleep in athletic performance and health; however, to date, the literature focused on sleep-related issues that are unique to the NBA schedule is scarce. Firstly, this review addresses the impact of the NBA schedule, outlining the number of games and the travel involved (number of flights, the timing of flights, timings of arrival at destination and hotel); we also outline a typical daily NBA travel schedule, providing the reader a glimpse of what this encompasses. Secondly, we provide a brief overview of sleep science and discuss specific applications related to the NBA. Finally, we provide comment on the unique current situation of the NBA "bubble". Based on this review, there appears to be considerable scope for further investigation of the acute and chronic effects of sleep disturbances concerning the NBA travel and game schedule. Sleep science recommendations need to inform practice, target sleep interventions, and personalized protocols designed to enhance sleep health that can be incorporated at the organizational level.
Keywords: NBA; basketball; sleep; sleep disturbances; sleep science.
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