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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2014 December;54(6):809-15

language: English

Sleep patterns and acute physical exercise: the effects of gender, sleep disturbances, type and time of physical exercise

Maculano Esteves A. 1, Ackel-D’elia C. 2, Tufik S. 2, De Mello M. T. 2

1 Faculdade de Ciências Aplicadas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil;
2 Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


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AIM: Aim of the study was to determine which factors influence sleep patterns after a single session of physical exercise.
METHODS: Adult sedentary volunteers (N.=221; 104 men and 117 women) aged 31.40±9.40 were randomised into groups with three different types of physical exercise (resistance, aerobic and interval). After the exercise protocol was explained, each volunteer was given the first polysomnographic (PSG) and performed the acute session of physical exercise (resistance: based on a 1RM test; aerobic: based on a maximum effort test (MET) and interval: 10 series with 4-minute intervals between series). The second PSG was performed the day after the acute session of physical exercise.
RESULTS: A negative correlation was found between sleep latency and the acute physical exercise session practiced in the evening, and a positive correlation was found between the total sleep time and female gender. The REM sleep stage (%) was positively correlated with the control, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and periodic leg movement (PLM) groups and the acute physical exercise session practiced in the morning. Positive correlations were observed in the arousal index and the PLM group and female gender; the PLM index and the control and OSA groups; minimum oxygen saturation and the OSA and PLM groups.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, these results suggested that such factors as gender, the presence of sleep disturbance (PLM and/or OSA), type of physical exercise (aerobic, resistance or interval) and the time that it was practiced (morning, afternoon or evening) can influence sleep patterns after a single session of physical exercise. However, the gender seems to be the most important factor to influence sleep pattern in the situation studied.

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tmello@demello.net.br)