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Can sleep help prevent sports injuries in teens?

Researchers here have shown that sleep may have a positive effect on athletic performance. And new findings presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics' national conference hint that sleep might provide another sports-related benefit: In a study of young athletes, those who slept at least eight hours a night had a 68 percent lower risk of sports injury.

MedicalNews Today reports on the study:

The researchers asked school athletes - 160 students, 54 males and 58 females, mean age 15 years - from middle and high school, grades 7 to 12, who were part of the Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, California, to complete a questionnaire which requested details of their sports, how much time they spent in each sport both at school and outside, did they have private coaching, were they involved in any strength training, what their sleeping patterns were, and how much they enjoyed their sport.

The questionnaires were completed by 112 of them. The researchers then analyzed them, specifically looking at sleeping patterns, and checked the school records for sports injuries.

They found that the more sleep the pupils got, the lower their risk of injury seemed to be.

The work relies on self-reports, which yield data that may be less accurate than if the scientists had gathered the information themselves. However, the finding are intriguing and worth exploring further. As author Matthew Milewski, MD, commented, "nobody has really looked at [lack of sleep] in terms of the adolescent athletic population" before.

Previously: A slam dunk for sleep: Study shows benefits of slumber on athletic performance, Could game time affect a baseball player’s at-bat success?, Want to be like Mike? Take a nap on game day, Sleep deprivation may increase young adults’ risk of mental distress, obesity and Lack of sleep may be harmful to a teen’s well-being
Photo by K.M. Klemencic

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