Exercise and Sleep: Review Paper Summary

Hello everyone. I recently turned in a review paper on exercise and sleep that examined the 4 articles I’ve looked at in previous posts and 6 additional ones. This was a fun project to do and now I am going to give a summary of what the paper was about. I gave an introduction on why exercise and sleep were so important and what the guidelines were for these two factors. Appropriate exercise is given by the American College of Sports Medicine as 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 days per week. The Center for Disease control and prevention established that adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. After the introduction I then reviewed the 10 articles and used this compilation to examine what a group of literature discovered about the effects of exercise on sleep. The articles I found fit well into three groups based on what population was being studied. These groups were: healthy, elderly, and cancer patients.

There were four articles that dealt with healthy subjects, three that researched elderly subjects, and three that examined subjects with various types of cancer. The first article dealing with healthy subjects showed that chronic vigorous exercise shows favorable results in sleep patterns in adolescents. The second found that vigorous late night exercise did not disturb sleep quality but did elevate heart rate. The third showed that exercise before bed did not disrupt sleep, but instead increased sleep quality and decreased time to get into deep sleep stages. And the fourth’s conclusion was that normal blood pressure patterns are more affected by physical activity performed in the morning.

The three studies on the elderly population were just as interesting. Elderly patients experience sleep problems commonly because of problems such as change in sleep patterns, arthritis, and osteoporosis. The first found that elderly patients can be helped sleep wise by a long term exercise program because it helps decrease night to night fluctuations in sleep. The second showed that if maintained, an aerobic training program can improve the sleep quality and assist the blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar of older adults. The third found that tai chi is an effective mode of exercise for the elderly who wish to improve their sleep in many different ways.

The last population was cancer patients. Cancer patients frequently experience sleep problems not only because of the disease but also the treatments they go through. This included breast, intestinal, nose, throat, lung, skin and various other types of cancer. The first study showed that exercise can aid sleep quantity and quality in those undergoing chemotherapy. The second study found that even simple home walking protocols can improve sleep quality and quality of life. The third showed that for multiple myeloma patients the effect of exercise seemed to be minimal on fatigue, sleep, and performance.

These articles did a great job showing just a portion of the research that has been devoted to how exercise and sleep are related. They have shown that exercise is not only beneficial for physical fitness, but how activity can impact the quality of rest. These articles have also shown valuable information such as: exercise cannot only improve sleep duration but also sleep quality, exercise can improve sleep in multiple populations, and different types of exercise can improve sleep. All of these articles point to the fact that exercise is beneficial in most cases and not negative in any of the cases.

I also mentioned some areas of future research that could be looked into based off of these articles. I said that instead of analyzing the effects of exercise on sleep, maybe researchers could analyze the effects of sleep on exercise. It could also be researched whether there is a dose-response relationship between exercise and sleep, to see if more exercise leads to better sleep quality or if there is a ceiling to the benefits. Another direction could be to continue examining the effects on different populations that commonly experience sleep problems.This is all for my summary of my review paper. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something about the effects of exercise on sleep!


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