Aerobic fitness, acute exercise and sleep in older men

J. D. Edinger, M. C. Morey, R. J. Sullivan, M. B. Higginbotham, G. R. Marsh, D. S. Dailey, W. V. McCall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


In the current study 12 aerobically fit and 12 sedentary older men underwent two nocturnal polysomnographic (PSG) studies. A control PSG was conducted following a day without aerobic activity, whereas a postexercise PSG study was conducted following an afternoon session of exhaustive aerobic exercise. In addition to deriving usual sleep parameters, a computer scoring program was used to count the number of individual electroencephalographic (EEG) slow waves in each PSG tracing. Multivariate and univariate analyses showed that the fit subjects had shorter sleep onset latencies, less wake time after onset, fewer discrete sleep episodes, fewer sleep stage shifts during the initial portion of the night, less stage 1 sleep, a higher sleep efficiency and more total slow waves during both PSGs than did the sedentary subjects. Although no main effects were found for the acute exercise challenge, post hoc analyses showed that high levels of body heating during exercise predicted increased sleep fragmentation for both fit and sedentary subjects. These findings provide initial support for the contention that exercise and fitness may have significant effects on the sleep of older men. However, results also suggest that high levels of body heating resulting from a single exercise challenge may have adverse effects. Implications of the study are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-359
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic fitness
  • Aging
  • Exercise
  • Sleep fragmentation
  • Slow wave sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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