Study on the use of mobile phones at night and the quality of sleep in athletes

The dream of quality is one of the 4 bases of sports performance along with training, sports nutrition and psychology. Whatever your objective in sport, as a professional or amateur sportsman, it is very important to give priority to getting enough sleep to get a good rest, just as you must find time to train, or adapt your diet to your energy needs or work your mind to get a person sportsman, healthy and happy.

Technology has infiltrated our lives and it is difficult to find a person who does not carry a mobile in their pocket or other electronic device. The advantages of technology is that it has simplified our lives in many ways, but it is also robbing us of hours of life, especially of sleep, time we spend watching a screen instead of doing other things or sleeping.

One of the problems with technology is that the type of blue radiation emitted by the screens of our electronic devices alters our natural sleep cycles, making it difficult to sleep. If we add to that the great addictive power of technology, which makes us go to sleep with the mobile phone or tablet in our hand, it also takes away hours of sleep.

This study carried out at the Faculty of Sports Sciences of the University of Western Australia, adds to the numerous studies that are analyzing the use of electronic devices before sleep and its relationship with the quality of sleep, since in general, using them before sleep not only takes away hours of sleep, also worsens the rest.

But the novelty is that this study was done with 70 young and well-trained athletes, to know how was their relationship with electronic devices in the hours prior to sleep, as well as the amount of sleep hours and the feeling of rest or drowsiness.

The results are not so negative after analyzing the use of electronic devices before sleep and sleep.

The sample of athletes analyzed was 44 women and 26 men, from different types of sports in teams and individuals. They had to keep a record in an online diary of the use of electronic devices before going to sleep and the amount of hours of sleep.

In the online sleep diary, they had to answer everything they did throughout the day in relation to sleep: caffeine intake, whether they took naps and at what times, the use of electronic devices **in the 2 hours before bedtime, specifying type and time of use and at bedtime: **time in bed, onset of sleep, hours and quality of sleep, and so on.


The athletes were in bed every night for an average of 8:20 ± 1:21 h.
When analyzing the age group, younger athletes (21 years) spent more time in bed than older athletes (25 years), yet they felt more drowsy throughout the day than older athletes.
The average use of electronic devices before going to sleep in the sports group was 30 minutes.
The use of **multiple **devices at night was associated with the sensation of greater difficulty in falling asleep, but there were no associations with other sleep variables.

In summary, the Australian researchers conclude that after their analysis, younger athletes may require later start times or that they should improve sleep quality to avoid feeling drowsy despite having slept more hours than the rest.

The curious thing about this study is that it found no relationship between the use of electronic devices before sleep and the quantity or quality of sleep.

Furthermore, the same research group of this study has published another work published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research of 2019 in which it did not find an improvement in sports performance, nor does it improve the amount of sleep, by ‘prohibiting’ the use of electronic devices at night to athletes, water polo and triathlon, during short training camps (4-7 nights). These results do not agree with the other studies on the bad influence on the quantity and quality of sleep, using technology before going to sleep. It would be interesting to analyze if having worked with high level young athletes does not affect them as much as older people, athletes or not.

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