Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Sleep and Fatigue of Elite Circus Student-Artists During One Year of Training

Adam Decker, Patrice Aubertin, Dean Kriellaars
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 34 Number 3: Page 125 (September 2019)

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Abstract: AIMS: The development of elite circus artists requires extensive technical and artistic training, as well as a commensurate level of physical preparation in readiness for a demanding professional career as a performance artist. While sport research has identified the importance of monitoring sleep and fatigue in athletes to optimize performance and to prevent illness and injury, not a single study of circus artists exists. This study provides a longitudinal examination of sleep and fatigue in elite circus student-artists. METHODS: 92 student-artists (60 male, 32 female) were analyzed at 4 strategic time points over a preparatory year. At each time point, sleep parameters (duration, quality and latency), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), wakefulness, and fatigue were obtained using questionnaires. RESULTS: Student-artists attained an average nightly sleep of 8 hours, 27 minutes, exceeding the recommended durations for general populations and those self-reported in athletes. The majority of the artists also indicated acceptable sleep latency (87%) and quality (83%) scores. Sleep parameters remained consistent throughout the year despite significant variations in training load and fatigue. Sleep parameters were not substantial predictors of overall fatigue. Fatigue covaried with yearly variation in sessional training loads. CONCLUSIONS: Although improvement in sleep could be postulated as a means to mitigate fatigue, it is likely that strategies aimed at optimizing the loading profile and additional recovery techniques be a first line approach.

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