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Associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep duration and quality

Cindy Forbes and Vanessa DeClercq

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Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality has been linked to many poor physical and mental health outcomes including cardiovascular disease (CVD), depression, anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and all-cause mortality. Of note, sleep quality has not only been associated with poorer health outcomes, but has been shown to exacerbate associations between other unhealthy lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes. Additionally, existing treatments for sleep disorders, while effective, may have side-effects. Physical activity (PA) has been suggested as a possible alternative treatment among general and chronic disease populations. Engaging in regular PA has been linked to changes in sleep circadian rhythms, thermogenic regulation, body weight, physical fitness, anxiety, depression, and pain; any of which could be a possible mechanism by which PA impacts sleep. While emerging evidence suggests that sedentary behaviour (SB) may also be associated with poor self-reported sleep outcomes, very little research on SB and sleep associations was found. The goal of this report is to examine any associations between PA or SB and sleep duration or quality among a cohort of Atlantic Canadians.

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