Associations Between Sleep Patterns and Performance Development Among Norwegian Chess Players
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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An inherent part of elite-level chess are high emotional and cognitive stress loads related to performance development. Sleep is a crucial recovery strategy, previously implicated in athletic performance. The main purpose of the current study was to investigate the associations between performance development and objectively measured sleep in a sample of 14 Norwegian chess players over a period of 120 consecutive days. Seven of the chess players in the current sample had negative development in their International Chess Federation (FIDE) ranking score in the period of sleep monitoring, while 7 had positive development. The sleep patterns of the chess players with positive performance development were different from the players with negative development – with higher amounts of deep sleep, less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and lower respiration rate in the positive performance development group compared to the negative performance development group. The findings are discussed in terms of existing knowledge on the importance of sleep stage distribution and sleep durations for athlete functioning, and in light of applied implications and possible future research.