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Date of Award
Kinesiology and Pedagogy
Hermann J. Engels
Empirical research on the effects of exercise on sleep is limited and findings are often inconsistent. In addition to the exact nature of exercise and its timing relative to sleep, it is widely recognized that various distinct individual traits of a person (e.g., age, gender, health status, morning-type vs. evening-type) as well as other key study methodological differences can importantly affect the research outcome. As a result, much remains to be learned about the relationship between exercise and sleep. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was (a) to compare selected objective sleep characteristics (i.e. onset latency, sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, and total sleep time), subjective sleep characteristics, and daytime sleepiness in a group of healthy, morning-type women between their non-exercise days and normal structured circuit training exercise program days, and (b) to examine whether a change in the regular time-of-day of their established exercise routine from the morning hours to the early evening hours will affect these same characteristics. METHODS: Fifteen healthy morning-type women (47.5,,b 5.5 years) participated in this study. All subjects were following an established (six weeks or longer) morning (between 7am-9am) exercise training routine that consisted of a 60 min, moderate-intensity, circuit-training program. For purpose of this study, sleep/wake patterns were determined from 24-hour wrist actigraphy (AW 64 Actiwatch, Mini Mitter, Bend, OR) recordings over five successive weekdays. During three of these five weekdays, subjects did not participate in any formal exercise training sessions. On the remaining two (always non-consecutive) days, subjects completed their regular 60 min circuit training classes on one day during their normal morning hours (between 7:00-9:00) and on the other day it was changed to the evening hours (between 17:00-19:00). Actigraphy data were scored using the Actiware (version: 5.0) sleep analysis software (Mini Mitter, Bend, OR) for the assessment of total sleep time (TST), sleep onset latency (SOL), wake after sleep onset (WASO), and sleep efficiency (SE). Subjective sleep measures data were scored using numeric values to rate sleep quality from the previous night and daytime sleepiness at four pre-determined times during the day. RESULTS: Repeated measures ANOVA revealed no significant differences in actigraphy-derived sleep characteristics for TST, SOL, WASO, and SE between non-exercise and normal morning exercise days (>0.05). Subjective Sleep Quality questionnaire responses were similar between baseline non-exercise days, morning exercise days and evening exercise days (p>0.05). Furthermore, there was no significant differences between baseline non-exercise days, morning exercise days and evening exercise days for the Stanford Sleepiness Scale as recorded at the four prearranged times of 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day (p>0.05). Moreover, changing the habitual exercise training routine from the morning hours to the early evening hours failed to have a significant effect on these sleep measures (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: Results from the current study suggest that there is no significant difference between non-exercise days, normal morning circuit training days and the unaccustomed early evening circuit training days when comparing objective sleep characteristics, subjective sleep measures or pedometer step counts. The results from this study substantiate and add to the current body of literature that suggests moderate exercise neither disrupts nor enhances sleep. Moreover, these results highlight the inconsistencies between previous studies and the need for further research in this area.
Engelbrecht, Kirsten, "Morning versus evening exercise: its effects on sleep in healthy women" (2011). Wayne State University Theses. 119.