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Melatonin and sleep responses following exercise in elite female athletes

Objective: To determine the melatonin concentrations and subsequent sleep indices of elite netball athletes following a training day when compared to a control day. Methods: Ten elite female netball athletes (mean ± SD; age = 23 ± 6 yrs) provided saliva samples PRE (17:15h) and POST (22:00h) a training session, and a day with no training (CONTROL). Sleep monitoring was performed using wrist actigraphy to assess total time in bed (TTB), total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE) and sleep latency (SL). Results: Melatonin levels were significantly lower (p < 0.05), both PRE and POST the training condition (6.2 and 17.6 pg/mL, respectively) when compared to the CONTROL (14.8 and 24.3 pg/mL, respectively). There were no significant differences observed between conditions for any of the sleep variables. However, a small reduction in TST could be observed following the training session condition compared to the CONTROL condition. Conclusion: The scheduling of netball training in the evening is shown to suppress salivary melatonin levels. This may have an influence on subsequent sleep following night-time exercise.
Journal Article
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O’Donnell, S. L., Beaven, C. M., Jacobson, G. M., Bird, S., & Driller, M. W. (2019). Melatonin and sleep responses following exercise in elite female athletes. New Zealand Journal of Sport and Exercise Science, 2(1), 23–33.
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