MAR 13, 2024 9:00 AM PDT

Healthy Sleep Linked to Exercise

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A new study published in the journal Sleep Health has shown that the overall structure and activities in one’s day, particularly exercise, play a key role in getting healthy sleep.

The study included data from over 1,100 children and over 1,300 adults. During the study, participants wore activity trackers on their wrists for eight consecutive days. Their daily activities were analyzed to determine time use in different categories, including sleep duration, sedentary time, light physical activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. This time use was then compared to dimensions of healthy sleep, including continuity, timing, sleepiness, satisfaction, and regularity. The goal of the study was to determine how activity over 24 hours is related to sleep health.

The results of the study showed that activities during the day were significantly tied to aspects of sleep at night. For both children and adults, increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during the day was shown to lead to better-quality sleep, less sleepiness throughout the day, and less troubled sleep. Interestingly, allocating more time for sleep led to less efficient sleep, although it was also correlated with more consistent sleep and earlier sleep onset.

The authors of the study noted that many people struggle to achieve restful and high-quality sleep at night. Many people also tend to think that making adjustments immediately before bedtime, such as avoiding screens and not eating large meals, will be the most effective way to achieve high-quality sleep. While this can be true in some cases, such as avoiding staying up late to watch TV or play video games, this study has shown that one’s activities throughout the 24-hour day also have a significant impact. Most notably, exercise throughout the day seems to be an effective and achievable way to improve sleep health.

Sources: Sleep Health, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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