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Associations between Changes in Activity and Sleep Quality and Duration over Two Years


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 12 - p 2425–2432
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001715

Purpose Insufficient physical activity (PA) and inadequate sleep quality (SQ) and sleep duration (SD) are highly prevalent behaviors that increase the risk of developing many chronic health conditions. Evidence regarding bidirectional relationships between PA, SQ, and SD is inconsistent. As changes in one of these behaviors may impact on the other, it is important to understand the nature of the bidirectional relationship between PA and sleep. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the relationship between changes in PA, SQ, and SD over a 2-yr period in middle-age adults.

Methods Participants were adults age 42 to 72 yr from Brisbane, Australia. Mail surveys were used to assess PA, SQ, SD, sociodemographic and health characteristics in 2011 and 2013 (n = 3649). Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between patterns of change in PA, SQ, and SD over the 2 yr.

Results Improving or maintaining good SQ was associated with increasing or maintaining PA and maintaining PA was associated with maintaining or increasing SQ (P < 0.05). Changes in PA were not associated with changes in SD.

Conclusions A bidirectional relationship between PA and SQ was identified; however, no evidence of a relationship in any direction between PA and SD was found. Multibehavior interventions targeting both PA and SQ are warranted. Middle-age adults with poor SQ may benefit from increasing PA and improving SQ may promote higher levels of activity.

1Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, AUSTRALIA;

2School of Medicine & Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, AUSTRALIA;

3School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, QLD, AUSTRALIA;

4School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD, AUSTRALIA; and

5School of Education, Faculty of Education & Arts, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, AUSTRALIA

Address for correspondence: Mitch J. Duncan, Ph.D., ATC Bldg, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia; E-mail:

Submitted for publication April 2018.

Accepted for publication June 2018.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine