Purpose: To compare sleep electroencephalographic patterns and psychological functioning of healthy adolescents running regularly in the mornings with those of control subjects. Although several studies have shown that regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise is related to favorable sleep and psychological functioning in adolescents, research on the effectiveness of short interventions is more limited.
Methods: Fifty-one adolescents (mean age = 18.30 years; 27 female [53%]) took part in the study; they were randomly assigned either to a running or to a control group. The running group went running every morning for 30 minutes at moderate intensity during weekdays for 3 consecutive weeks. Sleep electroencephalographic patterns and psychological functioning were assessed in both groups before and after the 3-week period. All participants also kept a sleep log for 3 weeks.
Results: Objective sleep improved (slow-wave sleep increased; sleep onset latency decreased) in the running group compared with the control group. Subjective sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day improved, whereas sleepiness during the day decreased.
Conclusions: Thirty minutes of running in the morning during weekdays for 3 consecutive weeks impacted positively on sleep and psychological functioning in healthy adolescents compared with control subjects. Running is inexpensive and easy to implement during school schedules, and as both objective and subjective improvements were observed within 3 weeks, regular physical exercise should be promoted.
Copyright © 2012 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.