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n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - The effects of three days of sub-maximal-intensity mountain biking on sleep : original research
Objectives. We determined the effect of three consecutive days of sub-maximal-intensity mountain biking (4.5 hours per day, ~64 km per day), on the sleep of ten healthy, trained male and female mountain bikers.
Methods. The sleep of the mountain bikers was assessed both subjectively (visual analogue scales and sleep questionnaires) and objectively (activity data logger) on each night of mountain biking and for seven nights when they were not cycling (pre-exercise, mean of seven nights). The cyclists' mood and muscular pain were assessed each night using visual analogue scales. The cyclists slept at home in their normal environment.
Results. There was no significant difference between the mountain bikers' muscular pain and mood (calm/anxious visual analogue scale) measured during the pre-exercise stage and their pain and mood measured on each of the mountain biking nights (p>0.05). However, compared with the pre-exercise stage, the mountain bikers reported that they were significantly more tired (tired/energetic visual analogue scale) on each night of cycling (p<0.01). The sleep of the mountain bikers was disrupted on the night of the third day of mountain biking only. On this night, compared with the pre-exercise stage, the mountain bikers reported that they woke up more during the night (double the number of times) (p<0.001), and an activity data logger recorded that they were awake for about half an hour longer during the night (p<0.05).
Conclusion. We have shown that three days of repeated, endurance sub-maximal mountain biking disrupted the sleep of the mountain bikers on the third night of cycling.
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