Monday, August 31, 2009

Student Athletes Sleep Better than their Inactive Peers

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that teenagers who routinely exercise vigorously have higher quality sleep than their peers.

Overall, athletes scored higher in sleep quality and mood and woke fewer times after falling asleep. They also had better daytime concentration and less fatigue. Athletes also scored lower for anxiety and depressive symptoms.

The study, conducted in Switzerland, included 434 adolescents with an average age of 17. Of the total participants, 258 took part in Swiss Olympic classes, which provide intense levels of training for high school students. They averaged about 18 hours of exercise per week. The other participants, recruited from Swiss high schools, averaged about five hours of exercise per week.

Students kept a log for seven days, tracking how much they exercised, how much sleep they got, the quality of that sleep, how tired they felt during the day, how well they were able to concentrate, and how tired they were at bedtime.

Findings suggest that consistent exercising is positively related to adolescents' sleep and psychological functioning. Results also indicate that males with low exercise levels are at risk for increased sleep complaints and poorer psychological functioning.

In July the Sleep Education Blog reported on a smaller study; it also found that regular exercise can lead to multiple improvements in the sleep of teens.

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