Associations of Sedentary Time and Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity With Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Polysomnographic Sleep in Community-Dwelling Adults

Sleep Breath. 2017 May;21(2):427-434. doi: 10.1007/s11325-016-1434-9. Epub 2016 Nov 11.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between daytime activity (sedentary time, moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity [MVPA]) and indices of polysomnographically (PSG) assessed sleep, including sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).

Methods: One hundred and thirty-six adults (65% female, 59.8 ± 9.1 years, body mass index [BMI] 30.3 ± 6.9 kg m-2) provided daily estimates of time spent in light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity activity for 6-14 days (mean 9.9 ± 1.8 days) prior to laboratory PSG. Daily sedentary time was calculated as the amount of time spent awake and not in light-, moderate-, or vigorous-intensity activity; time spent in moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity were combined for MVPA. Indices of PSG sleep included timing (sleep midpoint), duration (total sleep time), continuity (sleep efficiency), depth (% slow-wave sleep), and SDB (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI]). Using median splits of sedentary time and MVPA, analyses of covariance examined their relationship with sleep following adjustment for age, sex, race, employment, education, BMI, existing cardiovascular disease, depression history, and mean daily wake time. Binary logistic regression examined the odds of having at least mild-severity SDB (AHI ≥ 5) according to sedentary time, MVPA, and their combination.

Results: Adults with above-median sedentary time (i.e., >841.9 min/day) had significantly greater AHI (P = .04) and lower odds of mild SDB (P = .03) compared to adults with low sedentary time; adults with high MVPA (>30.5 min/day) had significantly lower AHI compared to adults with low MVPA (P = .04). When examined in the same model, adults with high sedentary time and low MVPA had significantly higher AHI (P < .01) and higher odds of having mild SDB (P = .03) than all the other groups. No other sleep measures were related to sedentary time, MVPA, or their combination.

Conclusions: Sedentary time and MVPA were associated with SDB. Whether reducing sedentary time leads to lower SDB severity deserves future exploration.

Keywords: Exercise; Physical activity; Sedentary behavior; Sleep apnea; Sleep-disordered breathing.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polysomnography*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Statistics as Topic