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Poor Sleep Quality Is Associated With Lower Physical Activity In People With PTSD

Update Date: Jul 17, 2014 10:15 AM EDT

Worse sleep quality predicts lower physical activity in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study. 

Findings of the study showed that PTSD was independently associated with worse sleep quality at baseline. Further, the study found that participants with current PTSD at baseline had lower physical activity one year later. 

The analysis also found that sleep quality completely mediated the relationship between baseline PTSD status and physical activity at the one-year follow-up, providing preliminary evidence that the association of reduced sleep quality with reduced physical activity could comprise a behavioral link to negative health outcomes such as obesity, the press release added. 

"We found that sleep quality was more strongly associated with physical activity one year later than was having a diagnosis of PTSD," lead author Lisa Talbot, postdoctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco said in a press release. "The longitudinal aspect of this study suggests that sleep may influence physical activity."

"This study adds to the literature that shows that better sleep leads to healthier levels of exercise, and previous research has shown that better sleep leads to healthier food choices," added American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler. "It is clear that healthy sleep is an essential ingredient in the recipe for a healthy life."

Talbot also added that the results hinted behavioral interventions to increase physical activity should also include an assessment for seep disturbance. 

"The findings also tentatively raise the possibility that sleep problems could affect individuals' willingness or ability to implement physical activity behavioral interventions," she said. "Sleep improvements might encourage exercise participation."

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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