Effects of an Acute Bout of Light-Intensity Walking on Sleep in Older Women With Sleep Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Clin Sleep Med. 2019 Apr 15;15(4):581-586. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.7718.


Study objectives: This study aimed to explore the effects of a single bout of light-intensity walking on sleep in older women with mild sleep impairment.

Methods: A total of 40 women aged 55 years or older with mild sleep impairment were randomized to either a treadmill walking session for 50 minutes or a quiet-rest control. All participants completed the study (mean age: 60.4 ± 4.7 years). Sleep quality was assessed by ActiGraph for 2 nights before (pretest) and 2 nights after exercise (posttest). A mixed-design analysis of variance was used with group as the between-subjects factor and time point as the within-subjects factor.

Results: No significant group difference in demographic variables, body mass index, physical and mental status, and eight sleep parameters were observed at baseline. Significant group-time interactions existed for sleep latency (P < .001) and sleep efficiency (P = .025). After the intervention, the walking group reduced sleep latency by 3.3 minutes (P = .001) and also had greater sleep efficiency (increase 3.8%, P = .008), but no significant change was found in the control group. No significant group-time interactions were present for the other six sleep parameters (activity counts, total sleep time, wake after sleep onset, number and length of awakenings, or time in bed).

Conclusions: A single session of light-intensity walking led to a modest reduction in sleep latency and improvement of sleep efficiency in older women with mild sleep impairment.

Keywords: elderly; insomnia; physical activity; sleep disorder; walking.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Walking*