Exercise has an immediate impact on sleep that night

New research shows that the amount of exercise that a teenager gets on a given day can have an immediate impact on the quality of their sleep that night. Getting more exercise than normal helped induce sleep faster, and for longer than normal. A reduced level of exercise, on the other hand, caused the participants to take longer to go to sleep and have a poorer sleep quality.

The researchers reported that for every additional hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise, participants fell asleep 18 minutes earlier and slept 10 minutes longer. Their sleeping quality also improved. In contrast, participants who had been more sedentary during the day fell asleep and woke up later but also slept for a shorter overall period of time.

sleep by Naas Physio Clinic

The participants wore accelerometers on their wrists and; therefore, the activity measurement was more accurate than other studies using self-report methods. The findings of this study correlate with the findings of a meta-analysis which found that individuals who participate in regular physical activity over months and years are more likely to have adequate sleep duration, improved sleeping continuity, and experience less frequent daytime sleepiness (Kredlow et al. 2015).

Positive Impact of Running on Sleep Quality

In a randomised-controlled trial by Kalak et al. (2012) it was found that student participation in a 3-week running group (vs. a group seated during this time) significantly improved subjective sleep quality, shortened objective onset latency, improved mood, reduced daytime sleepiness, and increased proportion of slow-wave brain wave pattern while sleeping.

sleep and exercise by Naas Physio Clinic

What is the impact of Prolonged Sitting?

It would be interesting to analyse the impact of prolonged sitting, which mimics the daily routine of most people, on sleep quality. Add to a work shift, several hours commuting and it may well not only rob you of your time during the day but also rob you of your sleep quality at night.

The irony is that because people feel fatigued from prolonged sitting during the day they lack the motivation to exercise. This impacts on the quality of nighttime slumber and creates a viscious cycle of fatigue and sleep deprivation. If you want to achieve restorative sleep then exercise and movement should form a key element of your daily routine.

Journal References:

  1. Lindsay Master, Russell T. Nye, Soomi Lee, Nicole G. Nahmod, Sara Mariani, Lauren Hale, Orfeu M. Buxton. Bidirectional, Daily Temporal Associations between Sleep and Physical Activity in AdolescentsScientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 1038/s41598-019-44059-9
  2. Kredlow, M. A., Capozzoli, M. C., Hearon, B. A., Calkins, A. W. & Otto, M. W. A meta-analytic review. Journal of Behavioral Medicine38, 427–449, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-015-9617-6 (2015).
  3. Kalak, N. et al. Daily morning running for 3 weeks improved psychological functioning in healthy adolescents compared with controls. Journal of Adolescent Health51, 615–622, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.020 (2012).

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