Recent studies indicate that 73% of adolescents report sleeping less than the prescribed 8-10 hours each night. Researchers in this latest study examined how teens could improve their sleep quantity and quality, finding moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the day to be the most positive indicator of sleep efficiency. This work differs from past research as it evaluates how both sedentary behavior and high activity impacts sleep each day.
The study found that for each additional hour of MVPA above a participant’s average, sleep onset was 18 minutes earlier and sleep duration increased by 10 minutes. Furthermore, findings indicate that when subjects exercised earlier than their average time of activity, their sleep onset was earlier and they slept longer. We’ll see how this study impacts the broader conversation surrounding school start-times, physical literacy, and practices times.
One of the most impactful results from this study is the implications late afternoon/ evening exercise has on not just sleep duration, but sleep quality. Sleep hygiene is a hot topic across the pros and your average gym-goer. Why? Because the working age population is reporting higher levels of stress, anxiety and lack of sleep at rates far greater than the generations before us. Thus, finding the equation for optimal sleep health is as crucial for our preventative health practices as the kale in your next smoothie.
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