Effect of Different Types of Exercise on Sleep Quality of Elderly Subjects

Sleep Med. 2016 Sep;25:122-129. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2016.06.025. Epub 2016 Sep 29.


Objective/background: There are still many gaps in research concerning the effect of different physical training modalities on sleep quality in the elderly population. Thus, the objective of the present study was to compare the quality of sleep of hypertensive elderly subjects submitted to two types of training (ie, aerobic exercise alone or combined aerobic and resistance training).

Patients/methods: Participants aged 60-75 years were randomized to three groups: aerobic group (AG), combined aerobic and resistance group (ARG), and control untrained group (CG). Training lasted ten consecutive weeks with 30 uninterrupted sessions. The actigraph (Actiwatch Minimitter Company, INC - Sunriver, OR, USA) was placed on the non-dominant wrist and activities were monitored continuously while being recorded at one minute intervals. The participants kept the device for a period of 96 hours before the first and last training sessions.

Results: There was a reduction in sleep fragmentation index of 18.9 for AG and 13 for ARG (p < 0.01) and the sleep efficacy was improved in the exercise groups, with a 5.6% increase for AG (p = 0.02) and a 6.1% increase for ARG (p = 0.01). After training, percentage of minutes motionless was increased by 8.2% for AG and by 6.9% for ARG (p < 0.01), indicating improved sleep quality. A reduction in total activity score during sleep was observed for AG and ARG (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: The two types of exercise performed for ten weeks similarly improved sleep quality, thus reducing the fragmentation index, the percentage of minutes in motion and total activity score, and increasing sleep efficacy.

Keywords: Aerobic exercise; Elderly; Resistance exercise; Sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ergometry / methods
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training / adverse effects
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sleep / physiology*