Time spent in physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep: Associations with self-rated sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults

Dr. Annemarie Luik

Dr. Annemarie Luik

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Annemarie Luik along with colleagues Amy Hofman, Trudy Voortman and Arfan Ikram recently published a paper titled “Time spent in physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep: Associations with self-rated sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults”. Dr. Kate Porcheret from the ESRS’s Digital & Communications Committee sat with her to discuss their work further.

It is often suggested that physical activity can affect your sleep quality. But the more, and the longer you move, the less time you have for other behaviours during the day. While people often look at sleep duration and it effects, they often don’t take into count these other behaviours and that they are limited to a 24-hour day.

Their study looked at overall activity on the 24-hour cycle and how it relates to sleep quality, and took into consideration 1918 participants (mean age 71 ± 9 years, 51% women) from the population-based Rotterdam Study, using wrist based accelerometery to reduce bias. This population sample was intentional so it could be generalizable to the larger Dutch population, and potentially also other populations across the world.

The study confirmed that sleep duration is associated with sleep quality, but what was also evident, was that sleep duration is mostly associated with a better sleep quality if it replaces sedentary behaviour or light physical activity. Sleeping more at the cost of moderate to vigorous physical activity, was less strongly associated with a better sleep quality than sleeping more at the cost of light physical activity or sedentary behaviour. The causality of these associations needs to be studied further as the current study uses cross-sectional data.

To find out more about exactly how the data was collected, additional details of their findings and future research opportunities, watch the entire interview below and read the entire publication here.

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