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March 7, 2016

The Importance of Sleep Stage Tracking for Athletic Performance and Recovery

Sleep’s role in athlete performance and recovery is well established; however, the mechanism through which sleep influences these processes remains poorly understood. A key breakthrough in understanding how sleep affects performance came from understanding that sleep is not a singular physiological state, but rather is composed of a set of distinct physiological states with unique processes and purposes.

This paper (1) reviews the role of each of sleep’s stages in the physiological performance and recovery of athletes, (2) presents evidence that sleep stage information can more robustly predict next-day athletic performance metrics than can sleep information alone, and (3) concludes that nightly sleep stage monitoring in the athlete population, when applied appropriately, can be used to make training both safer and more effective.

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Emily Capodilupo

Before joining WHOOP in 2013 as the first full-time employee and first scientist, Emily studied Neurobiology at Harvard University and studied circadian biology in the Analytical and Modeling Unit of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard's Brigham and Women's hospital. As a runner and acrobat, Emily knows first hand the importance of sleep and recovery for peak performance. At WHOOP, she blends this personal experience with the sleep and analytics knowledge developed at Harvard to empower athletes to make intelligent, data-driven decisions.