Little evidence has been published linking physical activity to sleep parameters

A systematic review and a meta-analysis found no bidirectional association between sleep results and physical activity in adults. These results were published in Sleep Medicine Reviews.

The researchers searched publication databases for studies on physical activity and sleep in adults through July 2019. A total of 33 articles met the inclusion criteria.

This review included 14,387 study participants. The studies had sample sizes between 7 and 10,086. Of the studies, 33% excluded men, 24% included people with sleep disorders, 9% included patients with mental disorders, and 8% included adults with chronic illnesses.

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In the meta-analysis, the directional relationship between wakefulness after falling asleep (effect size, -0.15; 95% CI, -0.31 to 0.00; P = 0.05) and sleep quality was found among the 10 within-Pearson analyzes (Effect size, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.00-0.70; P = 0.05) on physical activity were significantly associated. None of these relationships remained significant in the sensitivity analyzes; however, the relationship between total awake time and physical activity became significant (effect size -0.26; 95% CI, -0.38 to -0.15; P = 0.02).

Among the 12 Between Pearson analyzes, the effect of sleep efficiency on physical activity (effect size 0.09; 95% CI 0.01-0.18; P = 0.03) and physical activity on total sleep time (effect size -0.05; 95% CI, -0.09 to 0.00; P = 0.05) were significant. These relationships were not significant in the sensitivity analysis, but the relationship between sleep latency during physical activity became significant (effect size -0.09; 95% CI, -0.18 to 0.00; P = 0.05).

This study may have been constrained by the choice to group all types of physical activity, such as aerobic activity or vigorous physical activity, as a single predictor. The underlying studies varied in their sleep ratings between self-reported, objective measurements, or a mixture of both, which may have added noise to this data.

This meta-analysis did not identify any clear bi-directional relationships between sleep parameters and physical activity.


Atoui S, Chevance G, Romain AJ, Kingsbury C, Lachance JP, Bernard P. Daily associations between sleep and physical activity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev 2021; 57: 101426. doi: 10.1016 / j.smrv.2021.101426

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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