Professor Shona Halson

Deputy Director - SPRINT Research Centre

Shona Halson

Areas of expertise: sleep; recovery; overtraining; travel/jetlag

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1047-3878


Location: ACU Brisbane Campus

Professor Shona Halson from ACU's School of Behavioural and Health Sciences has been a mainstay of Australia's high performance sport network. She was the Head Recovery Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport from 2002 to 2018 and has been a part of three Olympic campaigns with the Australian Olympic Committee. Professor Halson was named as one of Exercise and Sport Science Australia's three Female Leaders in Exercise and Sports Science on International Women's Day 2019. Her research focuses on recovery, fatigue and sleep and she has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles and multiple book chapters. Shona has a particular interest in maximising recovery and monitoring and improving sleep in elite athletes. Shona also provides consultancy services to the Australian Open Tennis Tournament and Nike and is a trusted advisor to countless elite teams and athletes both in Australia and internationally.

Select publications

  • Sleep, circadian biology and skeletal muscle interactions: Implications for metabolic health. Morrison M, Halson SL, Weakley J, Hawley JA.Sleep Med Rev. 2022 Oct 9;66:101700. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2022.101700
  • Sleep Regularity and Predictors of Sleep Efficiency and Sleep Duration in Elite Team Sport Athletes.Halson SL, Johnston RD, Piromalli L, Lalor BJ, Cormack S, Roach GD, Sargent C.Sports Med Open. 2022 Jun 17;8(1):79. doi: 10.1186/s40798-022-00470-7.
  • Overtraining Syndrome Symptoms and Diagnosis in Athletes: Where Is the Research? A Systematic Review. Weakley J, Halson SL, Mujika I.Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2022 May 1;17(5):675-681. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2021-0448. Epub 2022 Mar 23.
  • How Much Sleep Does an Elite Athlete Need? Sargent C, Lastella M, Halson SL, Roach GD.Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2021 Dec 1;16(12):1746-1757. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2020-0896. Epub 2021 May 21.
  • The Challenge of Maintaining Metabolic Health During a Global Pandemic. King AJ, Burke LM, Halson SL, Hawley JA. Sports Med. 2020 Jul;50(7):1233-1241. doi: 10.1007/s40279-020-01295-8.32449141
  • How to manage travel fatigue and jet lag in athletes? A systematic review of interventions. Janse van Rensburg DCC, Jansen van Rensburg A, Fowler P, Fullagar H, Stevens D, Halson S, Bender A, Vincent G, Claassen-Smithers A, Dunican I, Roach GD, Sargent C, Lastella M, Cronje T.Br J Sports Med. 2020 Apr 17:bjsports-2019-101635. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-101635.
  • Changes in subjective mental and physical fatigue during netball games in elite development athletes. Russell S, Jenkins D, Halson S, Kelly V. J Sci Med Sport. 2019 Dec 23. pii: S1440-2440(19)31358-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2019.12.017.
  • Sleep Monitoring in Athletes: Motivation, Methods, Miscalculations and Why it Matters. Halson SL. Sports Med. 2019 May 15. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01119-4.
  • An Integrated, Multifactorial Approach to Periodization for Optimal Performance in Individual and Team Sports. Mujika I, Halson S, Burke LM, Balagué G, Farrow D. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 May 1;13(5):538-561. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0093.
  • Development of the athlete sleep behavior questionnaire: A tool for identifying maladaptive sleep practices in elite athletes. Driller MW, Mah CD, Halson SL. Sleep Sci. 2018 Jan-Feb;11(1):37-44. doi: 10.5935/1984-0063.20180009.
  • Recovery and Performance in Sport: Consensus Statement. Kellmann M, Bertollo M, Bosquet L, Brink M, Coutts AJ, Duffield R, Erlacher D, Halson SL, Hecksteden A, Heidari J, Kallus KW, Meeusen R, Mujika I, Robazza C, Skorski S, Venter R, Beckmann J. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 Feb 1;13(2):240-245.
  • Prevalence of illness, poor mental health and sleep quality and low energy availability prior to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Drew M, Vlahovich N, Hughes D, Appaneal R, Burke LM, Lundy B, Rogers M, Toomey M, Watts D, Lovell G, Praet S, Halson SL, Colbey C, Manzanero S, Welvaert M, West NP, Pyne DB, Waddington G. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Jan;52(1):47-53.
  • Trommelen J, Kouw IWK, Holwerda AM, Snijders T, Halson SL, Rollo I, Verdijk LB, van Loon LJC. Pre-sleep dietary protein-derived amino acids are incorporated in myofibrillar protein during post-exercise overnight recovery. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017 May 23:ajpendo.00273.2016. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00273.2016.
  • Martin K, Staiano W, Menaspà P, Hennessey T, Marcora S, Keegan R, Thompson KG, Martin D, Halson S, Rattray B. Superior Inhibitory Control and Resistance to Mental Fatigue in Professional Road Cyclists. PLoS One. 2016 Jul 21;11(7):e0159907. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159907. eCollection 2016.
  • Sargent C, Lastella M, Halson SL, Roach GD. The validity of activity monitors for measuring sleep in elite athletes. J Sci Med Sport. 2015 Dec 12.
  • Nédélec, M, Halson, S.L, Abaidia, A. Ahmaidi, S, Dupont, G. Sleep Hygiene and Recovery Strategies in Elite Soccer Players. Sports Medicine. 2015 Nov;45(11):1547-59.
  • Sargent C, Lastella M, Halson SL, Roach GD. The impact of training schedules on the sleep and fatigue of elite athletes. Chronobiol Int. 2014 Sep 15:1-9.
  • Halson SL. Monitoring Training Load to Understand Fatigue in Athletes. Sports Med. 2014 Sep 9.


  • 2021- current- AIS- Mental fatigue in Athletes ($250,000)
  • 2021-current- QAS- Sleep across the Menstrual Cycle- ($83,000)
  • 2021-current- PepsiCo- Nutrition and Sleep ($120,000)
  • 2022-current- Innovations Connection Grant- SASH study ($100,000)
  • 2014- 2016- PepsiCo- Nutrition and Sleep. $120,000
  • 2014- 2016- Australian Sports Commission- Neurophysiology of the elite athlete $30,000
  • 2012- 2018- 2XU- Investigating compression in elite athletes- $60,000 per year
  • 2011- 2013- Australian Sports Commission BIG IDEA GRANT. Enhancing Sleep in Athletes- $135,000
  • 2011- 2013- Australian Sports Commission/ Victoria University. Enhancing Recovery in Athletes- $50,000
  • 2009- 2012- ARC Grant- Sleeping for Gold (UniSa and AIS)- $275,000
  • 2002- 2014- General and Collaborative Research Grants- Australian Sports Commission- Combined $150,000+

Accolades and awards

  • Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) Female Scientist of the Year 2019
  • European College of Sport Science (ECSS) Young Investigator Award 2005
  • American College of Sports Medicine International Student Award 2002

Appointments and affiliations

Australian Institute of Sport

  • 2002- 2018 Senior Physiologist/ Head of Discipline

Australian Olympic Team

  • Recovery Coordinator Beijing Olympics 2008
  • Recovery Director London Olympic Games 2012
  • Recovery Lead Rio 2016

Editorial roles

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

  • 2010-2022
  • Associate Editor

European Journal of Sports Science

  • 2005-2008
  • Section Editor-Sport

International journal review panel

  • British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Nutrients
  • Sports Medicine
  • International Journal of Sports Performance and Physiology
  • Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

Public engagement

Gatorade Sport Science Institute

  • Member of Inaugural GSSI Expert Panel (GSSIXP)
  • Sleep, Nutrition and Recovery
  • Member of GSSI Expert Panel (GSSIXP)
  • Monitoring in Athletes


  • Nike Performance Council Member- 2019 to current

Australian Open Tennis Tournament

  • Recovery Consultant 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Nike Performance Council
  • British Journal of Sports Medicine Podcast:
  • Catapult Sports:

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