Adolescent Exercise Brings a Good Night's Sleep

Athletes exhibit better sleep and less anxiety and depression compared to non-exercising peers

THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who exercise regularly sleep better and are less anxious and have fewer depressive symptoms than their non-exercising peers, according to a study published online Aug. 18 by the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Serge Brand, Ph.D., of the University of Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues recruited 434 adolescents of both sexes (mean age, 17.2 years), including 258 athletes and 176 non-athlete controls. The subjects were asked to record the amount of exercise they got weekly. Each subject also kept a sleep log based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and completed a sleep-related personality questionnaire. The psychological status of each group was assessed using the Depression Scale and the State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory.

The researchers found that the average weekly hours spent exercising were 17.69 hours for the athlete group and 4.69 hours for the control group. The athletes reported overall better sleep patterns than the controls, citing higher quality sleep, shorter sleep onset latency, and less frequent awakenings. The athletes also had less daytime tiredness, increased concentration, lower anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms.

"In conclusion, along with only two other studies, the present data show that engaging in high amounts of exercise is positively related to favorable sleep patterns and psychological functioning in adolescents. These results provide grounds for promoting ready access to sports activities and for motivating adolescents to exercise regularly, especially male adolescents reporting little exercise behavior," the authors write.

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