Having a hard time maintaining an exercise schedule? Try sleeping early.
Night owls are more sedentary and feel less motivated to exercise, a new study has found.
Researchers have found that later sleep timing is associated with greater sedentary minutes and perceived barriers to exercise.
In the study, later sleep times were associated with more self-reported minutes sitting, and sleep timing remained a significant predictor of sedentary minutes after controlling for age and sleep duration.
People who characterised themselves as night owls reported more sitting time and more perceived barriers to exercise, including not having enough time for exercise and being unable to stick to an exercise schedule regardless of what time they actually went to bed or woke up.
“We found that even among healthy, active individuals, sleep timing and circadian preference are related to activity patterns and attitudes toward physical activity,” said principal investigator Kelly Glazer Baron, associate professor of neurology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
“Waking up late and being an evening person were related to more time spent sitting, particularly on weekends and with difficulty making time to exercise,” Baron said.
The study group comprised 123 healthy adults with a self-reported sleep duration of at least 6.5 hours.
Sleep variables were measured by seven days of wrist actigraphy along with sleep diaries. Self-reported physical activity and attitudes toward exercise were evaluated by questionnaires including the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.
According to Baron, the study suggests that circadian factors should be taken into consideration as part of exercise recommendations and interventions, especially for less active adults.
The research was published in the journal Sleep and presented at SLEEP 2014, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota.