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Sleeping habits of adolescents in relation to their physical activity and exercise output: results from the ELSPAC study
  1. Jan Máchal1,
  2. Filip Zlámal2,
  3. Lubomír Kukla2,
  4. Jan Švancara2,3,
  5. Hynek Pikhart2,4,
  6. Julie Bienertová-Vašků2
  1. 1 Department of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  2. 2 Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  3. 3 Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  4. 4 Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jan Máchal, Department of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno 62500, Czech Republic; jmachal{at}, jamac{at}


Background Little is known about the effects of physical activity and fitness on sleep timing parameters in adolescence.

Methods We investigated the development of sleep timing between age 8 and 15 and its association with physical fitness at age 15 in 787 adolescents (408 males, 379 females). Physical fitness was measured using the physical work capacity (PWC) protocol. Information on sport activity was collected at ages 11 and 15. Finally, the contribution of other covariates (sex, body mass index (BMI), parental education and occupational skill level) to the association between sleep parameters and physical fitness was evaluated. The correlation of BMI and physical fitness was assessed separately.

Results Mild correlation of sleep duration at ages 8 and 15 was observed (r=0.08–0.16). Higher sport activity participation and physical fitness were found to be mildly associated with delayed bedtime and reduced sleep duration; the association with bedtime was significant after adjustment for all covariates. Sport activity at age 11 was not associated with sleep timing at age 15. Interestingly, higher BMI was linked to delayed bedtime and higher physical fitness.

Conclusion Our findings do not support existing hypotheses suggesting the association of low physical activity and fitness with shorter sleep duration and high BMI in a generally non-obese adolescent population without severe sleep restriction.

  • sleep
  • physical activity
  • exercise test
  • adolescents

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  • Contributors JM wrote the manuscript. FZ provided the statistical evaluation of the data. LK, JS, HP and JB-V were responsible for conducting the ELSPAC study in the Czech Republic. HP and JB-V also contributed to the text of the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was performed thanks to funding from the Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX) Research Infrastructure (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic—MEYS, LM2015051) and CETOCOEN PLUS (MEYS, CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000469).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval ELSPAC Ethics Committee (Chair: Pavel Koukal, PhD).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.