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Dolezal BA, Neufeld EV, Boland DM, Martin JL, Cooper CB. Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review. Advances in preventive medicine. 2017 Mar 26; 2017(Article ID 1364387):1364387.
Although a substantial body of literature has explored the relationship between sleep and exercise, comprehensive reviews and definitive conclusions about the impact of exercise interventions on sleep are lacking. Electronic databases were searched for articles published between January 2013 and March 2017. Studies were included if they possessed either objective or subjective measures of sleep and an exercise intervention that followed the guidelines recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine. Thirty-four studies met these inclusion criteria. Twenty-nine studies concluded that exercise improved sleep quality or duration; however, four found no difference and one reported a negative impact of exercise on sleep. Study results varied most significantly due to participants' age, health status, and the mode and intensity of exercise intervention. Mixed findings were reported for children, adolescents, and young adults. Interventions conducted with middle-aged and elderly adults reported more robust results. In these cases, exercise promoted increased sleep efficiency and duration regardless of the mode and intensity of activity, especially in populations suffering from disease. Our review suggests that sleep and exercise exert substantial positive effects on one another; however, to reach a true consensus, the mechanisms behind these observations must first be elucidated.