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Behav Sleep Med. 2016 Oct 14:1-14. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2016.1228649. [Epub ahead of print]

Exercise During Early Pregnancy is Associated With Greater Sleep Continuity.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology , University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania.
2
b Department of Statistics , University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania.
3
c Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania.
4
d Biofrontiers Institute , University of Colorado , Colorado Springs , Colorado.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES/BACKGROUND:

Pregnant women report disturbed sleep beginning in early pregnancy. Among nonpregnant populations, exercise has been associated with improved sleep; however, research in pregnant samples has been equivocal. We examined whether varying degrees of exercise were associated with better nocturnal sleep among pregnant women during early gestation.

PARTICIPANTS:

172 pregnant women.

METHODS:

Self-reported sleep and exercise and objective sleep were collected during early gestation: T1 (10-12 weeks), T2 (14-16 weeks), and T3 (18-20 weeks) from 172 pregnant women. Exercise was categorized into three time-varying groups: 0 metabolic equivalent minutes per week (MET-min/week), 1 to < 500 MET-min/week, or ≥ 500 MET-min/week. Linear mixed-effects models were employed to test hypotheses.

RESULTS:

A significant main effect for Time (F[2,254] = 9.77, p < 0.0001) and Time*Exercise group interaction were observed for actigraphic sleep efficiency (aSE) (F[4,569] = 2.73, p = 0.0285). At T2, women who reported ≥ 500 MET-min/week had higher aSE than those who reported 0 MET-min/week. Significant main effects for Exercise Group and Time were observed for actigraphic wake after sleep onset (aWASO; F[2,694] = 3.04, p = 0.0483 and F[2,260] = 3.21, p = 0.0419). aWASO was lowest for those reporting 1 to < 500 MET-min/week (t[701] = 2.35, adjusted p = .0489) and aWASO decreased from T1 to T3 (t[258] = 2.53, adjusted p value = 0.036). Lastly, there was a main effect for Time for the PSQI (F[2,689] = 52.11, p < 0.0001), indicating that sleep quality improved over time.

CONCLUSIONS:

Some level of exercise among pregnant women appears to be more advantageous than no exercise at all. Moderate exercise, while still unclearly defined, may be a worthwhile adjunct treatment to combat sleep disturbances during pregnancy.

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