Cycling CME

A unique CME learning experience for Physicians, PA-C's, and other Medical Providers who love to bike

Active CME:  Combining Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Bicycle Touring for the Healthcare Provider

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The Importance of Sleep, Athletic Performance and Injury Rates

The Importance of Sleep and Athletic Performance and Injury Rate

The literature on the effect of sleep on sports performance is very interesting.  As we have noted here before, Dr. Cheri Mah has evaluated the effects of acute sleep restriction in cycling, demonstrating decreases in power, submaximal heart rate and peak heart rate during physiological assessments of cyclists.  Dr. Mah then evaluated the response to extra sleep in collegiate swimmers.  This study showed extra sleep over an extended period resulted in improved athletic performance, mood and lower ratings of fatigue. As athletes are always trying to find extra advantage, professional athletes and teams are in the news discussing how they have made sleep a priority as they try to optimize their performance.  This includes multiple professional teams with sleep rooms even fitted with special pillows to optimize sleep.

More recently, studies have looked at sleep and injury rates.  Milewski et al. (2014) showed a significant decrease in injury rate in adolescent athletes who slept more than 8 hours a day.  Other researchers are looking at sleep deprivation effects on proprioception (our sense of balance) and reaction time, both factors affecting injuries and performance.

As medical providers working with athletes at all different levels, clearly we should emphasize the importance of a healthy sleep cycle for both performance and possible even preventing injury.  Encourage everyone to get a great night’s sleep.


Milewski MD, et al. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes, Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, 2014

Mah CD, et al. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players,Sleep, 2011

Cycling CME

The Importance of Sleep!!

Improving Performance: Sleep Well!

I often would tell parents and athletes that there are three important keys to athletic performance that they can control. Eat well, train hard and sleep well. A recent study was in agreement with sleeping well and added to what is already known about the importance of sleep in athletes. A team of researchers from University of California, San Francisco, under Dr. Cheri Mah, looked at elite cyclists and the effects of restricted sleep. After 3 days of sleep restriction, there was a decrease in maximal aerobic power, submaximal heart rate and peak heart rate during physiological assessments of these cyclists.

The findings of this study suggest that poor sleep can result in performance impairments in elite athletes, in this case the endurance athlete. However, this applies to the elite as well as everyday exerciser. Short term loss of sleep will impair aerobic performance as well as decrease cognitive function. Long term sleep loss can lead to increases in cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. This sleep debt cannot be reversed easily as other studies have shown the effects of chronic sleep deprivation won’t improve despite several days of recovery sleep.

Let’s encourage our patients to remember the importance of sleep when discussing overall health. So be sure to optimize your sleep hygiene and remember regular exercise is been shown to be one of the most effective ways to improve your sleep. 

Cycling CME