Chronic Lack of Sleep and Injury Risk

Milewski MD et al. Chronic Lack of Sleep is Associated with Increased Sports Injuries in Adolescent Athletes. J Pediatr Orthop. March 2014

  • 38 million adolescents participate in sports in the US and 3.5 million children receive medical treatment due to injuries sustained
  • Sleep deprivation is known to dampen reaction times and affect mood and cognitive functions
  • This study sought to identify risk factors for injuries in a cohort of adolescent athletes and to determine the relative contributions of each factor to the risk of injury.
  • Risk factors included: the number of sports played, time spent participating in sports through school or clubs, participation in strength training, use of a personal coach for training outside of school, average amount of sleep per night, and subjective assessment of enjoyment in sports.
  • Study was conducted at a private combined middle/high school in a large metro area. 160 students were sent a survey and 112 completed it. Average age was 15.2 years.
  • Of the 112 athletes studied, 64 (57%) sustained a total of 205 injuries. 48 athletes were not injured. Of the 64 that were injured, 42 sustained > 1 injury
  • 65% of the athletes who reported sleeping < 8 hours/night were injured compared to 3% of athletes who reported sleeping > 8 hours/night
  • Athletes who slept < 8 hours/night had a 1.7x greater risk of injury than those who slept > 8 hours.