Article Title



Tristan Vansteene, Ryan Cyusa, Timothy Donovan, Meir Magal, FACSM, Shannon K. Crowley. North Carolina Wesleyan University, Rocky Mount, NC.

INTRODUCTION: Research suggests that participating in light to moderate physical activity (PA), after sustaining a sport-related concussion (SRC) may speed recovery from, and help ameliorate symptoms associated with an SRC. Sleep disturbances are one of the most commonly reported symptoms following an SRC, and sleep problems after an SRC have been linked to poorer long-term recovery. To date, there is extremely limited data regarding the impact of PA on sleep disturbances after SRC. Therefore, the aims of this study were to (1) investigate the relationship between objectively-measured PA and sleep disturbances, in athletes with a recent SRC; and (2) to compare objective and subjective measures of sleep quality between athletes with and without a recent SRC. METHODS: Athletes from teams with higher concussion rates (football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball) completed consent procedures at the beginning of the academic year. NCWC athletic trainers then informed the research team when a consenting athlete sustained an SRC, and a matched (by age, sex, sport, and BMI) control subject was identified. Within 4 days post-SRC, both concussed (n=9) and control (n=9) participants completed a one-week sleep and physical activity (PA) monitoring period (daily sleep diaries and wrist actigraphy). Wrist actigraphy PA cut points were used to categorize actiwatch activity counts as sedentary to light; light to moderate; or moderate to vigorous intensity PA. RESULTS: Preliminary results of this ongoing study showed that athletes who sustained an SRC exhibited significantly longer objectively-measured wake after sleep onset durations (66.9 min vs. 41.3 min; t = 2.98, p = 0.009), significantly higher objectively-measured sleep fragmentation indices (33.1 vs. 25.8; t = 2.2, p = 0.04), and significantly lower self-reported sleep quality (t = -3.2, p = 0.006). In concussed athletes, longer daytime nap durations were significantly associated with higher nighttime sleep fragmentation indices (r = 0.76, p = 0.02) and longer self-reported sleep onset latency (r = 0.73; p = 0.03). Higher durations of light to moderate intensity PA behavior were associated with reduced nighttime sleep onset latency (r = -0.54, p = 0.10; trend). CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary results suggest that athletes with an SRC exhibit significantly greater sleep disturbances than non-concussed athletes, and that light to moderate PA early after concussion may be protective against SRC-related sleep disturbances.

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