Objective: Few studies have examined the relationship between physical activity and sleep among women with vasomotor symptoms. We examined the associations of habitual leisure time and household physical activity with sleep characteristics among women reporting vasomotor symptoms.
Methods: A subcohort of women (N = 52: white, 27; African American, 25) in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation was assessed for self-reported and actigraphic sleep measurements for four nights. Women were between 54 and 63 years, were currently experiencing vasomotor symptoms, and were not taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or hormone therapy. The associations between physical activity (leisure time and household) and sleep (diary, actigraphy, and global sleep quality), as well as interactions by race and body mass index, were assessed using logistic regression and generalized estimating equations.
Results: Greater leisure time physical activity was associated with higher odds of rating global sleep quality as good (OR, 8.08, 95% CI, 1.5, 44.5, P = 0.02). Greater household physical activity was associated with more favorable diary-reported sleep characteristics, including fewer awakenings during the night (B = −0.14, SE = 0.06, P = 0.01). Exploratory analyses suggest that household physical activity was associated with more favorable sleep characteristics primarily among white and nonobese women.
Conclusions: Greater levels of habitual physical activity, particularly non–leisure time physical activity, are associated with more favorable sleep characteristics. Considering the potential impact of physical activity on sleep, even at the relatively modest levels characteristic of household physical activity, may be important for women with vasomotor symptoms, a subgroup at high risk for sleep problems.
From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
Received October 18, 2012; revised and accepted December 20, 2012.
Funding/support: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation received grant support from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health (grants NR004061, AG012505, AG012535, AG012531, AG012539, AG012546, AG012553, AG012554, and AG012495). This work was additionally supported by the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute on Aging (grant AG029216 to R.C.T.) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (T32 HL07560).
Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.
The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Office of Research on Women’s Health, or the National Institutes of Health.
Address correspondence to: Maya J. Lambiase, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org