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Prev Med Rep. 2018 Jun 26;11:180-186. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.06.013. eCollection 2018 Sep.

Objectively measured habitual physical activity and sleep-related phenomena in 1645 people aged 1-91 years: The Nakanojo Community Study.

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Exercise Sciences Research Group, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan.
Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Relationships between habitual physical activity and sleep-related phenomena were examined in 623 male and 1022 female Japanese participating in the Nakanojo Community Study, using data collected in 2012-2013. Ages ranged from infancy to very old. Daily step count and daily duration of exercise at an intensity >3 metabolic equivalents (METs) were determined by pedometer/accelerometer, 24 h/day for 1 week. Duplicate axillary temperatures were also taken on rising and when retiring. Total bed time was noted, and the efficiency of sleep determined as hours of actual sleep (from a validated pedometer/accelerometer algorithm) divided by bed time. Step counts and especially duration of activity >3 METs peaked in teenagers and decreased as age advanced (p < 0.001). Both axillary temperatures subsequently showed a gradual age-related decline (p < 0.001). The duration and efficiency of sleep also showed a small age-dependent decrease (p < 0.001). Multivariate-adjusted correlation coefficients indicated a better quality of sleep in individuals who took greater habitual physical activity. In individuals aged ≥40 years, these findings were modified by chronic disease conditions including hypertension, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipemia; after controlling statistically for potential confounders, both physical activity and axillary temperature were lower (p < 0.05 or 0.01), and the time spent lying was longer but the efficiency of sleep was poorer (p < 0.01) in those with chronic conditions. These results suggest that habitual physical activity bears an important relationship to sleep-related phenomena at all ages, with a modification of relationships by chronic disease in people aged ≥40 years.


Axillary temperature; Chronic illness; Moderate-intensity exercise; Sleep efficiency; Step count

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