Sleep is an integral part of good brain health, top athletic performance and optimal recovery from injury. Sleep impacts physiological functions including somatic growth, body temperature regulation, energy conservation, and immune defense; it also is necessary for optimal brain function to stimulate neural growth, as well as learning and memory consolidation. In athletes and students specifically, sleep has a bidirectional relationship with athletic performance. 

Studies have found that athletes have lower sleep quality than the general population; they have a lower sleep efficiency and a higher sleep fragmentation index.  Collegiate student-athletes have self-reported poor sleep patterns; over half of the respondents in an NCAA research survey stated they recorded insufficient sleep more than 3 out of the last 7 days, and they felt tired, dragged out or sleepy at least 3 days during the last week.

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Sleep is defined as "a recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles". 


Stages of sleep are divided into NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

NREM sleep is focused on:

  • Physical restoration

  • Is driven by homeostatic pressure

  • Has a quiet brain but active body

REM sleep is focused on:

  •  Mental restoration and memory

  • Is driven by circadian pressure

  • Has an active brain but a quiet body

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