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  • Mick Hughes

Sleep, Injury & Performance

For elite athletes sleep is a crucial part of their preparation for sport and an even more crucial part of their recovery from matches and injury. For amateur and community level athletes however it is a frequently over-looked strategy to improve performance and assist in recovery from injury. 

I often ask my patients how they recover from training and games, and they will rattle of “stretch, ice bath, foam roll, hydrate (+/- a couple of post-games beers), eat well, etc etc”…but rarely do I hear “I try to get at least 8 hours or more sleep per night”.

Less sleep has been found to be a risk factor for higher injury rates in adolescents & poor sporting performances (1 - 4). The National Sleep Foundation recommends that Adults get between 7-9 hours sleep per night, and Adolescents should aim for 8-10 hours sleep per night. 

To go and get some sleep however is easier said then done. If you're struggling to get at least 8 hours quality sleep per night, here are 5 key ingredients to getting a good night's sleep:

1) 7-9 hours per night and consider naps during the day if less than 7 hours sleep per night. 2) Sleep in cool (but not cold), dark room. 3) Avoid using electronics or personal devices in bedroom. 4) Limit technology use 1 hour before bed. 5) Reduce caffeine after lunch, and minimise alcohol at night (3). 

For more information on this topic, feel free to contact me via 


1. Milewski MD, Skaggs DL, Bishop GA, Pace JL, Ibrahim DA, Wren TA, et al. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. Journal of pediatric orthopedics. 2014 Mar;34(2):129-33. PubMed PMID: 25028798. Epub 2014/07/17. eng. 

2. Luke A, Lazaro RM, Bergeron MF, Keyser L, Benjamin H, Brenner J, et al. Sports-related injuries in youth athletes: is overscheduling a risk factor? Clinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine. 2011 Jul;21(4):307-14. PubMed PMID: 21694586. Epub 2011/06/23. eng. 

3. Simpson NS, Gibbs EL, Matheson GO. Optimizing sleep to maximize performance: implications and recommendations for elite athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports. 2016 Jul 1. PubMed PMID: 27367265. Epub 2016/07/02. Eng. 

4. Juliff et al (2017) -

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