Increased self-reported and objectively assessed physical activity predict sleep quality among adolescents

Christin Lang, Serge Brand, Anne Feldmeth, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse, Markus Gerber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    151 Citations (Scopus)


    Both scientists and the general public assume that physical activity (PA) is an effective, non-pharmacological approach to improvement in sleep quality. However, objective and reliable data on this relationship are scarce, particularly for adolescents. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to test the relationship by assessing both PA and sleep subjectively and objectively. A total of 56 adolescent vocational school students (Mean age=17.98, SD=1.36; 28 males, 28 females) participated in the study. Sleep and PA were subjectively assessed via questionnaires. Accelerometers objectively assessed PA, while sleep-EEG devices objectively assessed sleep. The data supported our prediction that adolescents with high PA levels would have longer TST, fewer wakening at night (WASO), fewer symptoms of insomnia, and higher sleep quality. However, gender influenced this pattern of results in that significant findings were only found between high self-reported PA levels and shorter perceived sleep onset latency (SOL). Though self-reported PA levels were a better predictor of good sleep than objectively assessed PA levels, gender was associated with sleep complaints; females reported more sleep complaints. Results indicate that among a non-clinical sample of adolescents increased PA is favorably associated with restoring sleep. Therefore, PA seems beneficial not only for physical and mental health, but also for sleep restoration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-53
    Number of pages8
    JournalPhysiology and Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013


    • Actigraphy
    • Adolescent
    • Exercise
    • Insomnia
    • Sleep deprivation
    • Sleep-EEG


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