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The Effect of Sleep Restriction on Exercise Performance and Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Injury

Insufficient sleep, known as sleep restriction, increases the risk of injury in athletes, military personnel, and the general population. Yet, the physical mechanisms by which sleep restriction increases injury risk are unknown. Potential mechanisms include strength imbalances and landing or running techniques during dynamic tasks. The goal of this project was to examine the effect of reduced sleep on strength and biomechanical risk factors for injury. Strength around the shoulder and knee, ankle and knee landing forces from a jump, and lower leg forces while running, were measured by a multidisciplinary team of researchers following: a) 8 hours sleep, and b) 3 hours sleep the night before testing. Data collection will be complete in mid-2018 but the data already shows acute sleep restriction significantly affects balance. The results of this study will guide development of prevention strategies or recommendations to reduce the risk of injury in athletes, military personnel and the general population.