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Introduction: This study aimed to explore the relationship between elite rugby union match and postmatch sleep architecture and to investigate the effects of a high-heat capacity mattress (MAT) and a whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) session on postmatch sleep architecture.

Methods: Nineteen elite male U23 rugby union players performed in three official matches, followed by three experimental conditions, in a randomized order: MAT, WBC, and no intervention (CONT). Match load was evaluated using GPS trackers and video analyses. Sleep architecture was assessed by polysomnography (PSG). Core body temperature (CBT) and mattress surface temperature were monitored during sleep. Linear mixed-effects models were conducted to assess the effects of each experimental condition on sleep, with match load variables as covariates.

Results: A lower wake after sleep onset (β = -10.5 min, P < 0.01) and higher rapid eye movement sleep proportion (β = +2.8%, P < 0.05) were reported for MAT compared with CONT. Moreover, lower mean CBT (β = -0.135°C, P < 0.001) and mean mattress surface temperature (β = -2.736°C, P < 0.001) during sleep were observed for MAT compared CONT. WBC did not affect nocturnal CBT nor interfere with sleep architecture. For every 100-m increase in high-speed running distance, a higher slow wave sleep (β = +1.1%, P = 0.05) and lower light sleep proportion (β = -1.2%, P < 0.05) proportion were observed. Conversely, for every 10 supplementary collisions, lower slow wave sleep (β = -1.9, P = 0.09) and higher light sleep (β = +2.9%, P < 0.001) proportion were observed.

Conclusion: MAT use had a positive effect on sleep architecture after an elite rugby union match, potentially through a more efficient nocturnal heat transfer.

Aloulou, A, Leduc, C, Duforez, F, Piscione, J, Cheradame, J, Bieuzen, F, Thomas, C, Chennaoui, M, VAN Beers, P, Nedelec, M..  (2020)

Full Article : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32472928/