Introduction: Athletes often experience chronic sleep disturbance. Napping is widely recommended as a safe and non-invasive intervention to counteract the negative effects of partial sleep deprivation. The aim of this systematic reviews was to evaluate the effectiveness of diurnal napping opportunities on athletes’ physical and cognitive performance, and to outline how aspects of the study design can influence the potential effects of napping.
Methods: This review was conducted in accordance with the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus databases were searched up to June 2020 for relevant studies investigating the effect of napping on physical and cognitive performances in physically active participants. Fourteen strong-quality and four moderate-quality studies met our inclusion criteria and were included in the final sample.
Results: Most studies (n=15) confirmed the beneficial effects of napping and showed that diurnal napping improved short term physical performance, endurance performance and specific skill performance. Moreover, napping improved reaction time, attention and short-term memory performances. Importantly, “replacement naps” showed to improve both physical and cognitive performances regardless of the type of exercise. Additionally, longer nap opportunities (i.e., 90 min) resulted in better improvement of physical and cognitive performance and lower induced fatigue.
Conclusions: A diurnal nap seems to be an advantageous intervention to enhance recovery process and counteract the negative effect of partial sleep deprivation on physical and cognitive performance. To optimize physical performances of athletes experiencing chronic lack of sleep, findings suggest 90 min as the optimal nap duration.
Mots clés : Diurnal nap, Physical performance, Cognitive performance, Sleep deprivation
Auteurs : Tarak DRISS, Maher SOUABNI, Mohamed ROMDHANI, Achraf AMMAR, Khaled TRABELSI, Omar HAMMOUDA
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