Sleep and Injury Risk

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2021 Jun 1;20(6):286-290. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000849.


Sleep has been found to have wide-ranging effects on sports performance and overall well-being. Recent research has found evidence relating chronic suboptimal sleep with the risk of musculoskeletal pain and sports injury. The amount of sleep that consistently has been found to be associated with increased risk of injury is ≤7 h of sleep, which when sustained for periods of at least 14 d has been associated with 1.7 times greater risk of musculoskeletal injury. However, it is unknown if sleep loss predisposes the athlete to specific types of musculoskeletal injuries. The role of sleep on musculoskeletal pain is important to understand as studies in both children and adults have found that suboptimal sleep more consistently predicts next-day pain as compared with pain predicting subsequent sleep loss. Despite the evidence that certain aspects of sleep behavior seem to increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury and pain, sleep should be considered as only a part of the athlete's overall health and well-being when assessing the athlete for risk of injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Risk
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult