The effects of aerobic exercise timing on sleep architecture

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kimberly Rose Fairbrother (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Scott Collier

Abstract: It is well known that the quality of sleep has direct effects on the manifestations of disease. Further, exercise has been shown to enhance the quality of sleep, yet little is known regarding how exercise effects sleep stages. Our laboratory has shown that the timing of exercise is important for cardiovascular benefits which may be derived from the improved quality of sleep. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of aerobic exercise timing on sleep architecture. Thirteen subjects, with no self-reported sleep disorders and not on any medications participated in this study. Visit one consisted of informed consent and a graded exercise test to exhaustion (VO2peak) and equipment familiarization. During visits 2-4 subjects reported for 3 pre-determined exercise times at 7am, 1pm, and 7pm in a random counterbalanced order to perform a 30 minute treadmill protocol at 65% of their predetermined VO2peak. A Zeo™ ambulatory sleep EEG monitoring headband was worn during sleep. This system transmitted brainwave data to a receiver which was analyzed for sleep stage time and quality of sleep. Aerobic exercise at 7am invoked significantly greater time spent in light and deep sleep and the greatest frequency of sleep cycles compared to exercise in the afternoon or evening. However, exercise at 7pm showed less time in Rapid Eye Movement sleep compared to 7am and 1pm exercise times. These data show that engaging in aerobic exercise during the early morning hours may be the most beneficial epoch of time for greater quality of sleep.

Additional Information

Fairbrother, K.R. (2011). The effects of aerobic exercise timing on sleep architecture. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2011
Exercise, Sleep, Hypertension

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