Sleep hygiene education for improving sleep in ultra-marathon swimmers: Guidance for coaches and swimmers

Ian C. Dunican, Emma Perry, Gemma Maisey, Elena Nesci, Spencer Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sleep for recovery is an essential factor for performance in athletes. One such group is recreational ultra-marathon swimmers (>10km). We aimed to compare measures of sleep before and after a sleep hygiene education intervention during a 16-week training programme. Using a prospective study design, the experiment was conducted in two phases (pre- and post-intervention), whereby pre- and post-intervention data were collected for 42 nights after the sleep hygiene education. This study had 24 masters' swimmers (n = 13 females), aged 39 +/- 11 years, and body mass index (BMI) of 26 +/- 3 kg/m(2) during a training squad for an ocean ultra-marathon swimmer (19.7 km) in Perth, Western Australia. Objective measures of sleep were obtained from a wrist activity monitor, the Readiband (TM) (Fatigue Science Inc., Canada). Participants underwent a 2-hour sleep hygiene education session. Generalised linear mixed models were fitted to examine relationships between predictor variables and sleep responses. Sleep onset and offset increased by 12 minutes post-intervention (p < 0.001). For nights before morning training, sleep onset increased by 12 minutes and offset by 24 minutes post-intervention. Females increased sleep onset by 18 minutes and delayed sleep offset by 12 minutes sleep (p < 0.05) post-intervention. The sleep hygiene education was insufficient in making meaningful improvements to measures of sleep. Individual sleep hygiene education and continuous reinforcement of sleep for recovery during a training programme may be required to observe improvements. Coaches should aim to design training schedules to minimise the impact on swimmer's sleep opportunity and swimmers need to involve family in the planning of rest periods during a training programme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1024
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science & Coaching
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


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