Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Kinesiology and Sport Management

First Advisor

Andrea Powell

Second Advisor

Laura Kruger

Third Advisor

Debra Robertson


sleep, sleep debt, student athletes, sports performance, recovery

Subject Categories

Exercise Science | Kinesiology | Sports Sciences


This paper reviewed the literature regarding sleep and athletic performance, specifically identifying the problem of sleep debt in student athletes, the effects of sleep debt, and what factors negatively influence sleep, along with how to improve sleep. The literature revealed that it is common for athletes to not get adequate sleep. Sleep debt can have psychomotor and physiological effects on the body, which decreases optimal athletic performance. The many factors that negatively impact sleep include high intensity training sessions, travel, sleep disturbances, caffeine and/or alcohol consumption, and pre-competition anxiety. Recommendations for athletes that are struggling to achieve adequate sleep include, but are not limited to; ingestion of melatonin at night to help with sleep onset, removal of electronic device to improve total sleep duration, avoiding caffeine ingestion caffeine after 5:00PM, participating in mental skills training to prepare for competition and cope with pre-competition anxiety, avoid alcohol after heavy load days, try to achieve the recommended hours of sleep per the NSF guidelines, and use opportunities for sleep extension.



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