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Lack of Sleep and Injury Risk in College Athletes at a NCAA DIII

Liberal Arts College

Ryan Byrd

Athletic Training Department, Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia

The topic for this research project is sleep deprivation being a
correlation to the development of injuries. There has been research and
studies done showing that injuries and poorer performance will occur if
there is on average less than eight hours of sleep a night that a person is
receiving. (1) Not only is sleep deprivation correlated with injuries during
sports, it can also be shown to happen in factories, and peoples everyday
This research project was intended to look at student athletes injuries
that they have developed as a college athlete that may have had a
correlation to sleep deprivation.
The research project was conducted by an online survey through
Survey Monkey. The questionnaire consisted several demographic
questions, and questions concerning sleeping habits and injuries.
The setting placement for this research project was on an online
survey that was sent via email to all fall varsity athletes at Emory & Henry
Patients or Other Participants.
Describe patients or other participants here. During this research project
there was a mixture of both male and female participants. These
participants were selected from all fall varsity athletes who participate in a
sport at Emory & Henry College. There were a total of 63 participants; 40
males, and 23 females. Majority of the percentage of participants were
Caucasian, seniors, and of the age of 21.

Sleep deprivation is becoming a much more researched topic in
todays society. Though we often do not consider the consequences of
poor sleep or the benefits of good sleep, research has shown that our
sleeping habits can have a big role in our everyday functioning and
performance in extracurricular activities. Without good quality sleep,
individuals are less likely to succeed in achieving their goals.
Research has shown that sleep is one of the number one keys in a
persons performance.
Within the realm of athletics, a large emphasis has been placed on
sleep, with much focused discussion going on the topic. Coaches are
pushing their athletes to get the sleep they need to meet the
expectations that are anticipated. Not only in athletics, but also in
schools and in the workforce, the amount of sleep a student or
employee gets is rather important. The purpose of this literature
review is to discuss recent research that discusses the topics on
sleep, such as the importance of sleep, different types of sleep
complications, injuries that occur from the lack of sleep, and the
physical and psychological effects of sleep deprivation.

Does sleep really help with an individuals health and performance?

To figure out if there is a correlation between sleep deprivation and
injuries in athletes at Emory & Henry College, I used Survey Monkey to
create a survey that I sent out to the all fall varsity athletes at Emory &
Henry College, and asked them questions that pertaining to their amounts
of sleep and number of injuries.
Main Outcome Measures.
The main outcome measure was to find out if there could possibly be a
correlation between sleep deprived athletes and injuries. Based off of the
data that was collected fall varsity athletes that attended and participated at
Emory & Henry College would develop injuries over a period of time. This
could have happened if there were less than eight hours of sleep a night on
average a student athlete was receiving.




There were 63 fall varsity student athletes from Emory & Henry
College that completed my online survey that measured several
aspects of sleeping habits. Participants were asked questions that
included how much sleep they received each night, what time they go
to sleep at night, and if they have had an injury while participating in
their selected sport. They were given a 32-question questionnaire that
took approximately three to five minutes to complete. The questions
were to determine patterns and trends in sleep habits. The questions
also determined if the injuries could possibly relate to sleep
deprivation. There were around 30 different injuries listed in the
survey, which ranged in severity from sprained ankles to torn labrums
and rotator cuffs.

The primary findings in this study were that sleep deprivation could
potentially have an impact on student athlete injuries. In support of my
hypothesis, findings show that a significant amount of athletes who have
experienced injury are also not getting proper amounts of sleep each
night. A significant amount of participants thought that their injuries
correlated with the lack of sleep they were receiving at night.

Out of the six teams that participated in the survey, the majority of
participants were from the football team. While analyzing the data, it
showed that most of the participants were seniors, white/Caucasian,
male, and mostly were at the age of 21. The data showed that 68% of
the participants had experienced some type of injury throughout their
collegiate sport experience. As predicted, the amount of hours spent
sleeping was also lower than normally recommended by doctors. With
recommended sleeping hours being around eight hours, on average a
significant amount of the participants were lacking in getting proper
amounts of sleep. The results showed that out of the 63 participants
35 are getting five to six hours of sleep while 23 are getting seven to
eight hours of sleep each night. I also looked at the average time
participants woke up and went to sleep. It was found that roughly 80%
of the participants typically wake up sometime between 7:00AM and
10:00Am and roughly 98% go to sleep after 10:00PM.

Does sleep deprivation has an impact of injuries?

Is there a correlation with injuries and sleep deprivation?

First, I developed a 32-item questionnaire that was sent out to the
senior athletic training students at Emory & Henry College. The
questionnaire was developed on the Survey Monkey website. The link
to the survey is After
reviewing the survey with the athletic training students, we discussed
how long the questionnaire had taken them to complete and edits that
I should make to the survey. Next, I made a list of all 2015 fall varsity
student athletes that participated at Emory & Henry College. I
managed to send out 155 emails to them asking them to take the
survey and what the research project was about. The survey included
an informed consent on the first page. If participants agreed, they
were directed to the first question of the questionnaire. If students did
not agree to the informed consent, they were directed to the thank
you page of the survey. I left the survey open for two weeks and I
was able to get a total of 63 participants.


Overall, this research provided evidence that sleep deprivation could be a

reason for injuries to occur more often. Participants expressed that they did
not get recommended sleep each night, and a great amount of participants
stated that they developed injuries. Although there were patterns shown
through this research future studies should be down. In the future studies
the research should include more athletes to participate. The future studies
should also include information to coaches to allow them to see that there
could possibly be a correlation between sleep deprivation and injuries. To
allow there to be a higher participation rate, they should be an extended
amount of time to allow for the survey to be finished, and send out
reminders to the participants about the survey.

Limitations to this study include having a small sample size of

participants, a lack of diversity, and a small participation rate from certain
sports teams.
Even though my study was focused on sleep deprivation, I found a
significant trend in the preferred temperature at which most participants
desire. Of the 63 participants, 55 prefer to sleep in a cool room versus a
warm room. In the future, research may look at how room temperature
may have an impact on sleeping patterns. Future research may also
want to also look at the relationship between sleep deprivation and
injuries in spring sports. Overall, findings showed that sleep deprivation
could potentially play a role in the likelihood of experiencing an injury.
This research supports the idea that student athletes should avoid sleep
deprivation if possible in order to play at their full potential, and to remain
as healthy as possible.

I would like to thank the senior athletic training students for helping me
develop the questionnaire, if it was not for Tayler Hale this topic would
have never been thought of. I would also like to thank Hannah Doss
for helping get information to do a survey on survey monkey. I would
like to thank all fall varsity student athletes at Emory & Henry College
that participated in the research study. I would like to give a big thanks
to Beth Funkhouser who helped the senior class out so much with this
research project. She helped guide us throughout the entire semester
and encouraged us throughout the entire process.

Contact Information
Ryan Byrd, ATS
DC Cobler, EdD, VATL, ATC- Program Director
Beth Funkhouser, MEd, VATL, ATC, CSCS- Clinical Coordinator
Emory & Henry College
Athletic Training Department
PO Box 947
Emory, Virginia 24327

T: 276.944.6500
F: 276.944.6738