Athletes are not more tired than the rest of us, according to a new study—they’re just better at sleeping, Outside Magazine reports.
Survey studies find that about half of national-team athletes are regular nappers. But a few months of stressed-out pandemic living offers a pretty stark reminder that being tired doesn’t guarantee that you’ll sleep well. And according to a new study, the link between training, fatigue, and napping in athletes isn’t that straightforward either.
The new findings come from researchers at Loughborough University, working with the English Institute of Sport, and are published in the European Journal of Sport Science. They invited three groups of 10 people (16 men, 14 women) to come into their laboratory and try to take a 20-minute nap: elite athletes, who averaged 17 hours of training per week; sub-elite athletes, who averaged 9 hours of training per week; and non-athletes. The key outcome was sleep latency: how quickly, if at all, would the subjects be able to fall asleep?