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Physical activity predicts incident sleep disturbances in older adults: prospective study based on polysomnography


Most epidemiological evidence regarding the association between physical activity (PA) and sleep in older adults is still based on self-reported sleep parameters and cross-sectional studies.


To examine if PA is associated with incident polysomnographically (PSG)-assessed sleep disturbances characterized by total sleep time (TST), sleep onset latency (SOL), wake time after sleep onset (WASO), sleep efficiency and percentage of TST in REM and N3 stage sleep in older adults.


Prospective cohort study based on a subsample of the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study. Self-reported PA information was used to estimate the METs-h/week and in-laboratory PSG exams provided information on sleep parameters at baseline and after follow-up. For the statistical analyses, logistic regression models controlling for confounders were built for each sleep outcome.


A total of 434 participants (45.9% female; mean age 60.1±7.5y) were followed over an average of 5.0±1.6 years. Compared to baseline PA between <10 METs-hour/week (reference category), PA ≥10 to <26 was related to lower relative risk of incident TST <6h (relative risk, RR: 0.42; confidence interval, 95%CI: 0.23; 0.78), WASO >60 min (RR: 0.58; 95%CI: 0.42; 0.81) and sleep efficiency <80% (RR: 0.61; 95%CI: 0.39; 0.95), adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle and health conditions. Associations between incident sleep disturbances and PA ≥26 METs-hour/week were not statistically significant when adjusted for confounders.


In this prospective study, an intermediate level of physical activity at baseline predicted lower incident sleep problems measured with PSG regardless of the main confounders.


physical activity; sleep; polysomnography; cohort study.


Área Básica


Universidade Estadual de Londrina - Parana - Brasil, University of Winsconsin - - Estados Unidos


Arthur Eumann Mesas, Marcela Zambrim Campanini Zambrim Campanini, Erika Warkentien Hagen, Paul Everett Peppard