The objective of this study was to examine the effect of sleep on the acquisition of motor skills in young badminton players. Thirteen badminton players, aged 6–9 years (8.0 ± 0.3 years; mean ± SE), practiced the shuttle bouncing drill, and a skill none of the players had prior experience with. After practice sessions, shuttle bouncing performance was immediately tested and then retested 1 week later. We evaluated sleep parameters for 7 consecutive days using actigraphy. Using the median value of sleep efficiency, subjects were divided into two groups: good sleepers and poor sleepers. Good sleepers had shorter sleep latency (p < 0.05), longer wake after sleep onset (p < 0.001), longer total sleep time (p < 0.005), and higher sleep efficiency (p < 0.001) than the poor sleepers. Interestingly, improvement in shuttle bouncing performance was significantly greater in the good sleeper group than that in the poor sleeper group (p < 0.05). In addition, we found that changes in the shuttle bouncing performance positively correlated with sleep efficiency (β = 0.765, p < 0.01) and total sleep time (β = 0.588, p < 0.05) after adjusting for their badminton career. These data suggest that sleep may affect the acquisition of motor skills in young players.
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