According to a recent study, published in Scientific Reports, exercising more than usual (or being more sedentary than recommended) for just one day may be enough to affect sleep that night.
Specifically, the team discovered that for every additional hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity, adolescents fell asleep 18 minutes earlier, slept 10 more minutes and had an efficiency in maintaining greater sleep that night.
“Adolescence is a critical period to get adequate sleep,” Master explains, “because sleep can affect cognitive performance, stress and eating behaviors. Our research suggests that encouraging teenagers to spend more time exercising during the day can help your health.”
In contrast, researchers also found that being more sedentary during the day was associated with a worse sleep routine. When participants did not do any physical activity, they stayed until later, slept less and had a harder time falling asleep.
“You can think of these relationships, between physical activity and sleep, almost like a seesaw,” Buxton concludes. “When we exercise more, we begin to get sleepy, it lasts longer and is more efficient. While if we spend more inactive time, it is as if we were at the low end of the rocker: the duration and quality of sleep decrease.”
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