Red light and the sleep quality and endurance performance of chinese female basketball players.

Zhao J, Tian Y, Nie J, Xu J, Liu D

Sport Biological Center, China Institute of Sport Science, No. 11 Tiyuguan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China 100061.


Good sleep is an important recovery method for prevention and treatment of overtraining in sport practice. Whether sleep is regulated by melatonin after red-light irradiation in athletes is unknown.


To determine the effect of red light on sleep quality and endurance performance of Chinese female basketball players.


Cohort study.


Athletic training facility of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and research laboratory of the China Institute of Sport Science. Patients or Other Participants: Twenty athletes of the Chinese People's Liberation Army team (age = 18.60 6 3.60 years) took part in the study. Participants were divided into red-light treatment (n = 10) and placebo (n = 10) groups.


The red-light treatment participants received 30 minutes of irradiation from a red-light therapy instrument every night for 14 days. The placebo group did not receive light illumination.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire was completed, serum melatonin was assessed, and 12-minute run was performed at preintervention (baseline) and postintervention (14 days).


The 14-day whole-body irradiation with red-light treatment improved the sleep, serum melatonin level, and endurance performance of the elite female basketball players (P < .05). We found a correlation between changes in global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and serum melatonin levels (r = -0.695, P = .006).


Our study confirmed the effectiveness of body irradiation with red light in improving the quality of sleep of elite female basketball players and offered a nonpharmacologic and noninvasive therapy to prevent sleep disorders after training.

J Athl Train 2012 47(6) 673-8

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