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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Volleyball experiments with sleep study

<rder to promote a conscious emphasis on healthy sleep patterns, the Women’s Volleyball team has instituted a sleep-reporting program for its student-athletes.

The program came about from a discussion between Director of Health Promotion Janet Muth and Head Coach Heidi Jaynes last spring. Drew Weis of SHAC has also been closely involved with the educational sessions on healthy sleep.

“I thought it was a great way to open up the discussion about sleep and educate our student athletes about it,” said Jaynes. “I’m not familiar with any other volleyball program doing this.”

 The team now records their hours slept each night on a shared spreadsheet, using sleep tracking apps like Pillow. The sleep goal for each player is 8-9 hours of sleep, including naps. Other goals include eliminating caffeine after dinner, limiting naps on buses to away games to 20 minutes or less and consistently using “night mode” and “do not disturb” on electronics to limit sleep-disrupting blue light and notifications.

 The NCAA has worked with the Sport Science Institute to study and promote positive sleep habits among student-athletes. The organizations emphasize sleep’s importance to growth, healing, stress management, and biorhythms, as well as how severely a significant lack of sleep can disrupt these processes.

 Despite their promotions, ideal sleep patterns are not the norm among student-athletes. In an NCAA study, one-third of student-athletes surveyed slept less than seven hours each night. A University of Arizona survey showed even less than this, with 43 percent of students getting less than seven hours of sleep a night and 23 percent reporting excessive fatigue during the day.

 Along with a desire to avoid the performance toll of sleep deprivation, the team has also incentivized the program. When the team achieves all of its goals for a full week, the team is scheduled a private session with a SWA dog as an extra incentive.

“The team has been enthusiastic about the program, mostly because of the SWA dog,” Sarah Grier ’21 said.

 The study is still in its early stages, with tracking and gathering data underway. “I love the educational sessions that have been included in this study,” said Jaynes. “I hope to continue with the sessions for sure in the future.”

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