Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: A systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 58, 157-163

College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Journal of physiotherapy (Impact Factor: 3.71). 09/2012; 58(3):157-63. DOI: 10.1016/S1836-9553(12)70106-6
Source: PubMed


Does an exercise training program improve the quality of sleep in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems?
Systematic review with meta-analysis of randomised trials.
Adults aged over 40 years with sleep problems.
A formal exercise training program consisting of either aerobic or resistance exercise.
Self-reported sleep quality or polysomnography.
Six trials were eligible for inclusion and provided data on 305 participants (241 female). Each of the studies examined an exercise training program that consisted of either moderate intensity aerobic exercise or high intensity resistance exercise. The duration of most of the training programs was between 10 and 16 weeks. All of the studies used the self-reported Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to assess sleep quality. Compared to the control group, the participants who were randomised to an exercise program had a better global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score, with a standardised mean difference (SMD) of 0.47 (95% CI 0.08 to 0.86). The exercise group also had significantly reduced sleep latency (SMD 0.58, 95% CI 0.08 to 1.08), and medication use (SMD 0.44, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.74). However, the groups did not differ significantly in sleep duration, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbance, or daytime functioning.
Participation in an exercise training program has moderately positive effects on sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults. Physical exercise could be an alternative or complementary approach to existing therapies for sleep problems.

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    • "The evidence also suggests causal and therapeutic linkages between exercise and sleep quality (Youngstedt, 2005). While earlier studies tended to focus on sleep outcomes following relatively high-intensity activities and athletic performance (Driver and Taylor, 2000), recent clinical trial findings have demonstrated moderate, but significant, sleep benefits for lower-intensity exercise (for a recent systematic review, see Yang et al., 2012). Programs requiring 100 min (Reid et al., 2010) to 210 min (King et al., 2008) of weekly activity, delivered over periods ranging from 16 weeks (King et al., 1997) to 54 weeks (King et al., 2008), have shown significant improvements in sleep quality among those with 'mild' to 'moderate' sleep complaints (Irwin et al., 2008), or 'chronic' insomnia symptoms (Li et al., 2004; Reid et al., 2010). "
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