Moderate and intense physical activity promotes good sleep – Neuroscience News

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Resume: Physical activity improves sleep quality, especially for women, a new study reports.

Font: Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

An adequate amount of good quality sleep is essential for the physical and emotional well-being of human beings.

For example, good-quality sleep helps improve the outcomes of various diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, mental illness, and dementia. On the other hand, sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, and excessive sleepiness can lead to serious health problems and are quite common throughout the world.

In the US, between 50 and 70 million adults suffer from sleep disorders, primarily insomnia. Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of 17 studies suggested that in China, insomnia is present in 15% of the population. To better understand such ailments, it is important to study the factors that promote good quality sleep.

Previous studies have indicated that a proper lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity, is beneficial for good sleep. However, a systematic comprehensive study in this area of ​​research is lacking.

To this end, a team of researchers from Japan, Canada, and Taiwan, led by Associate Professor Javad Koohsari of the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) School of Knowledge Sciences, who is also an adjunct researcher at the Faculty of Sport Sciences at Waseda University, has investigated the interrelationship between sedentary behaviour, physical activity and sleep quality in a middle-aged sample of the Japanese population.

The research group, made up of Professor Yukari Nagai, also from JAIST; Professor Akitomo Yasunaga of Bunka Gakuen University; Associate Professor Ai Shibata of the University of Tsukuba; Professor Yung Liao of the National Taiwan Normal University; Associate Professor Gavin R. McCormack of the University of Calgary, and Professor Koichiro Oka and Professor Kaori Ishii of Waseda University, based their study on Japanese adults between the ages of 40 and 64, a crucial time window that it often marks the start of various health problems. .

His work has recently been published in scientific reports.

The researchers used an isotemporal substitution approach, which estimates the effect of replacing one type of activity with another for the same amount of time.

Says Dr. Koohsari, “We replaced 60 minutes of sedentary behavior or light-intensity physical activity with moderate to vigorous physical activity in participants’ schedules.”

This shows a woman sleeping.
Previous studies have indicated that a proper lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity, is beneficial for good sleep. The image is in the public domain.

An accelerometer monitored the level of physical activity of the participants for seven consecutive days. A questionnaire was then used to assess the quality of sleep and rest of the participants.

Replacing sedentary behavior with moderate to vigorous exercise improved sleep quality. Interestingly, this association was found to be based on gender and was only found in women. This is in accordance with reports that have shed light on gender differences in sleep disorders. However, more studies are required to understand why these gender-based differences occur.

In summary, this study contributes to the existing body of studies that provide empirical evidence for the importance of physical activity in promoting good-quality sleep. Hopefully, these studies will serve as a useful platform for future research on the prevention of sleep-related disorders. Surely, now we have enough motivation to regularize our training schedules!


Dr. Gavin R. McCormack is supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundations Program (FDN-154331).

Professor Koichiro Oka is supported by a Scientific Research Grant (No. 20H04113) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

About this exercise and sleep research news

Author: Mohammad Javad Koohsari
Font: Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Contact: Mohammad Javad Koohsari – Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Picture: The image is in the public domain.

original research: Open access.
Sedentary behavior and sleep quality.” by Mohammad Javad Koohsari et al. scientific reports

See also

This shows a mom and baby.


Sedentary behavior and sleep quality.

High-quality sleep is an important factor in maintaining health and improving well-being. Previous evidence has shown positive associations between increased physical activity and reduced sedentary behavior (SB) with sleep quality.

Substitution relationships between SB, light-intensity physical activity (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) need to be taken into account when examining how a particular behavior may affect sleep quality.

No study, to our knowledge, has explored these substitution relationships in midlife adulthood.

Using an isotemporal substitution approach, this study examined the associations of replacing sedentary time with physical activity on measures of sleep quality in a sample of middle-aged adults in Japan. Data from 683 adults aged 40 to 64 years living in Japan were used. Average daily time spent on SB, LPA, and MVPA was objectively assessed using accelerometers.

Two self-report measures of sleep quality were obtained using questionnaires, including sleep rest and sleep quality. Multivariate linear regression models were used to assess the associations of SB, LPA, and MVPA with gender-stratified measures of sleep quality.

We found that each 60-min unit of SB or LPA replaced with MVPA was favorably associated with sleep rest among women (β= 0.16, 95% CI 0.07, 0.28, p<0.001; β= 0.18, 95% CI 0.07, 0.32, p< 0.05, respectively). There were no significant associations between SB, LPA, and MVPA with sleep measures in men in all three models.

These findings indicate that a higher MVPA has a positive association with sleep quality in middle-aged women.

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