Sleep indices and cardiac autonomic activity responses during an international tournament in a youth national Soccer team

Pedro Figueiredo, Júlio Costa, Michele Lastella, João Morais, João Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to describe habitual sleep and nocturnal cardiac autonomic activity (CAA), and their relationship with training/match load in male youth soccer players during an international tournament. Eighteen elite male youth soccer players (aged 14.8 ± 0.3 years; mean ± SD) participated in the study. Sleep indices were measured using wrist actigraphy, and heart rate (HR) monitors were used to measure CAA during night-sleep throughout 5 consecutive days. Training and match loads were characterized using the session-rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE). During the five nights 8 to 17 players slept less than <8 h and only one to two players had a sleep efficiency <75%. Players’ sleep duration coefficient of variation (CV) ranged between 4 and 17%. Nocturnal heart rate variability (HRV) indices for the time-domain analyses ranged from 3.8 (95% confidence interval, 3.6; 4.0) to 4.1 ln[ms] (3.9; 4.3) and for the frequency-domain analyses ranged from 5.9 (5.6; 6.5) to 6.6 (6.3; 7.4). Time-domain HRV CV ranged from 3 to 10% and frequency-domain HRV ranged from 2 to 12%. A moderate within-subjects correlation was found between s-RPE and sleep duration [r = −0.41 (−0.62; −0.14); p = 0.003]. The present findings suggest that youth soccer players slept less than the recommended during the international tournament, and sleep duration was neg-atively associated with training/match load.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2076
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometer
  • Adolescent
  • Football
  • Match
  • Parasympathetic system
  • Recovery
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep quality
  • Training load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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