High-quality sleep is an important factor in sustaining health and improving well-being. Previous evidence has demonstrated the positive associations between increased physical activity and reduced sedentary behaviour (SB) with sleep quality. In a recent study published in Scientific Reports in January 2023, researchers in Japan aimed to explore the relationship between sedentary behaviour (SB), light-intensity physical activity (LPA), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sleep quality in middle-aged adults.
The study used an isotemporal substitution approach to examine the relationship between physical activity and sleep quality. This approach involves replacing one type of activity with another while keeping the total amount of time spent active the same. The participants were middle-aged adults who wore accelerometers to objectively measure their daily time spent in sedentary behaviour, light physical activity (LPA), and MVPA. They also completed self-reported questionnaires to assess their rest by sleep and sleep quality.
The results of the study showed that each 60-minute unit of sedentary time or LPA replaced with MVPA was associated with improved rest by sleep in women. However, there were no significant associations found between physical activity levels and sleep measures in men across all three models.
The study highlights the importance of considering substitutional relationships when examining the impact of physical activity on sleep quality. The findings suggest that higher MVPA has a positive association with sleep quality in middle-aged women. It is important to note that high-quality sleep is essential for sustaining health and well-being, and interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity may offer non-pharmacological strategies for improving sleep quality. The study is particularly relevant to middle-aged adults, a life stage when age-related health, including sleep quality, begins to decline.