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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 168-173

Comparing the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality among male nonathlete students


1 Community Nursing Research Center, Department of Community Health Nursing, Nursing and Midwifery School, Zahedan University of Medical Science, Zahedan, IR Iran
2 Pregnancy Health Research Center, Department of Psychological Nursing, Nursing and Midwifery School, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, IR Iran
3 Department of Physical Education, Islamic Azad University of Kerman Branch, Kerman, IR Iran
4 Community Nursing Research Center, Department of Psychological Nursing, Nursing and Midwifery School, Zahedan University of Medical Science, Zahedan, IR Iran

Date of Web Publication18-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saman Saber
Department of Psychological Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan
IR Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/nms.nms_56_17

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  Abstract 

Background: Physical activity is among the most significant factors behind sleep quality. However, there are limited data on the effects of different types of physical activity on sleep quality. Objectives: This study aimed to compare the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality among male nonathlete students. Methods: As a three-group randomized controlled trial, this study was done on ninety male nonathlete nursing students of Zahedan Islamic Azad University, Zahedan, Iran. Students were randomly assigned to an aerobic exercise, an anaerobic exercise, and a control group. For 10 consecutive weeks, students in the aerobic and the anaerobic groups respectively attended aerobic and anaerobic exercise programs thrice a week. Data were collected using a demographic questionnaire and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and were analyzed using the one-way analysis of variance, the Tukey's post hoc, the Chi-square, and the paired-sample t-tests. Results: At baseline, the mean scores of sleep quality in the aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, and control groups were 4.06 ± 3.62, 4.56 ± 4.93, and 4.50 ± 4.01, respectively (P = 0.98). However, after the intervention, these values significantly changed to 2.03 ± 2.96, 1.96 ± 3.60, and 4.66 ± 4.16, respectively (P = 0.008). Pairwise between-group comparisons showed that the mean scores of sleep quality in both intervention groups were significantly lower than the control group (P < 0.05) while the difference between the intervention groups was not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Exercise, either aerobic or anaerobic, significantly improves sleep quality among male nonathlete students.

Keywords: Aerobic, Anaerobic, Exercise, Sleep quality, Students


How to cite this article:
Kianian T, Navidia A, Aghamohamadi F, Saber S. Comparing the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality among male nonathlete students. Nurs Midwifery Stud 2017;6:168-73

How to cite this URL:
Kianian T, Navidia A, Aghamohamadi F, Saber S. Comparing the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality among male nonathlete students. Nurs Midwifery Stud [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Apr 20];6:168-73. Available from: http://www.nmsjournal.com/text.asp?2017/6/4/168/221007


  Introduction Top


Sleep is among the basic human needs. It alleviates fatigue and helps regain energy and power for doing daily activities.[1],[2] As a repetitive behavior, sleep also facilitates body functions such as growth and development, learning, and memorization.[3] Thus, any sleep disorder can cause problems such as daytime sleepiness, stress, anxiety, depression, headache, impaired memory, and decreased coping ability.[4],[5] Sleep disorders are of greater importance to students because not only these disorders can affect their daily functioning, but also may result in their academic failure and high-risk behaviors such as quarrel, aggression, and smoking.[6]

Studies reported the increasing prevalence of sleep disorders among students.[6],[7] Medical and nursing students are more at risk for sleep disorders due to their greater levels of stress and pressure at work, numerous clinical education courses, and the abundance of to-be-learned educational materials.[8],[9] Ghanei et al. found that the prevalence of sleep disorders among students living in the dormitories of Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran, was as high as 43.1%.[5] Alimirzaei et al. also reported the high prevalence of low quality sleep among the students of Kerman Nursing and Midwifery School, Kerman, Iran.[10] These findings highlight the necessity of special attention to students' sleep and the importance of developing strategies for its improvement.

Physical activity is one of the most significant factors behind sleep quality.[11] Different studies reported exercise as an effective nonpharmacological modality for improving the sleep quality of both healthy and unhealthy individuals.[12],[13] In general, there are two types of exercise, namely, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise is a prolonged moderate-intensity exercise which increases heart and respiratory rates for long periods of time, while anaerobic exercise is a short-period high-intensity exercise which put muscles under intense pressure.[12] Both types of aerobic and anaerobic exercise can have different effects on body metabolism and thereby sleep quality.

There are limited data on the best type of exercise for improving sleep quality.[13],[14] Kredlow et al. did a review study and reported that despite the known positive effects of exercise on sleep quality and duration, no comparative study had yet evaluated the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality.[15] Consequently, a question still comes to mind that “which of the aerobic and anaerobic exercises are more effective in improving the sleep quality?”

Objectives

This study was conducted to compare the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality among male nonathlete students.


  Methods Top


Design and sample

This three-group randomized controlled trial was made in 2014 on male nonathlete nursing students of Zahedan Islamic Azad University, Zahedan, Iran.

Students were included if they were nonathlete (i.e., had not done regular or professional exercise during the past 6 months before the study),[16] were physically healthy, had no known cardiopulmonary disease, received no sleeping pills or any other medications, and did not use tobacco. The exclusion criteria were exercise intolerance and irregular attendance at the sessions of the study intervention. Data on the inclusion criteria were collected through interviewing students.

Based on the results of a study undertaken by Soltani et al.[17] and with a confidence level of 0.95 and a statistical power of 0.80, sample size was estimated to be 31. Parameters used to calculate sample size were as follows:



Due to the limited number of students in the study setting, we could recruit just thirty students to each group. Sampling was done conveniently. Students were randomly assigned to an aerobic exercise, an anaerobic exercise, and a control group. For random allocation, three cards labeled A, B, and C were used. Each student was asked to randomly select one card. Students who selected the A, B, or C card were respectively allocated to the aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, and control groups.

Instrument

Data collection instruments were a demographic questionnaire (containing items such as age, weight, height, body mass index, and marital status) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).[18] PSQI consists nineteen items which are scored from 0 (no sleep disturbance) to 3 (maximum sleep disturbance). The total PSQI score can range from 0 to 21 the higher the score, the lower the sleep quality. The total PSQI score is interpreted as follows: 0–5: High sleep quality; 6–10: Moderate sleep quality; 11–15: Relatively poor sleep quality; and 16–21: Poor sleep quality.[19] Izadi et al. reported a Cronbach's alpha of 0.80 for the scale.[20]

Intervention

Initially, we referred to the study setting and created a list of the names of all male nursing students who had enrolled in the physical training course. Then, we interviewed students on the phone to determine eligible ones. Students who met the inclusion criteria were asked to attend an opening session held in the conference hall of the study setting, where they were randomly allocated to one of the three groups and were asked to complete the demographic questionnaire and PSQI. Students in the aerobic and the anaerobic groups were required to attend a sport hall in the event and the odd weekdays, respectively. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise sessions were offered by the third researcher in thirty sessions held in 10 consecutive weeks, i.e., three sessions a week. Each session consisted of three parts, namely, warming up exercise (including a 6-min jogging followed by a 4-min stretching exercise), aerobic or anaerobic exercise, and cooling down exercise (including a 4-min jogging and a 5-min stretching exercise). Moreover, they were asked to do their activities of daily living and avoid any other regular exercise program during the study.

Aerobic exercise for students in the aerobic group comprised slow and fast running as well as jogging in a track and field gym. In the first session, students were required to do the scheduled aerobic exercise up to 50% of their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) for 20 min. The intensity and the duration of aerobic exercise were gradually increased during the program according to the overload principle so much so that in the eighth and the 9th weeks of the program, the duration of aerobic exercise was 38 min while VO2 max was 70%[21] [Table 1].
Table 1: The aerobic and anaerobic exercise programs

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The first session of the anaerobic exercise program included of three 30-m sprints as well as a 60-m and a 100-m sprint with a VO2 max of 95%. The intensity and the duration were gradually increased based on the overload principle so much so that in the eighth and the 9th weeks, each session consisted of eleven 30-m, six 60-m, and two 100-m sprints with a VO2 max of <100%[22] [Table 1].

It is noteworthy that VO2 max is calculated through dividing maximum heart rate by resting heart rate and multiplying the result by 15. Maximum heart rate is also calculated through subtracting age from the fixed value of 220.[23] At the end of the intervention, students in all groups were asked to attend the same conference hall to recomplete PSQI.

Ethical considerations

This study was part of a Master's thesis in exercise physiology at Kerman Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran. The study was approved and granted by the aforementioned university (grant code: 9305.10821410922003) and registered in the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (registration code: IRCT2017011526858N5). We adhered to the ethical principles of medical research reported in the Declaration of Helsinki.[24] The research objective was explained to all participants, and their written informed consents were secured. They were assured of their right to refuse participation and to voluntarily withdraw from the study. Moreover, they were informed that the intervention would not be harmful to them and their data would be managed confidentially.

Data analysis

Data analysis was done through the SPSS software version 13 (SPSS, Inc. Chicago, Illinois, USA). The Kolmogorov–Smirnov test was conducted to test the assumption of normality. The measures of descriptive statistics (such as mean, standard deviation, and absolute and relative frequencies) were employed for data description and presentation. The Chi-square test and the one-way analysis of variance were run to compare the groups regarding students' marital status, age, weight, body mass index, and PSQI scores. Moreover, the Tukey's post hoc test was performed for pairwise between-group comparisons.


  Results Top


This study was made on 90 students. During the study, three students left the study (one from the aerobic and two from the anaerobic groups) and respectively 29, 28, and 30 students from the aerobic, anaerobic, and control groups completed the study [Figure 1]. Students aged 18–25, with a mean of 20.83 ± 1.80. No significant difference was observed among the groups respecting students' age, weight, body mass index, and marital status [P > 0.05; [Table 2].
Figure 1: The flow diagram of the study

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Table 2: Comparison of personal characteristics in three groupsa

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The results of the one-way analysis of variance illustrated that the groups did not differ significantly from each other at baseline regarding the mean score of PSQI (P = 0.98). After the intervention, PSQI mean score in both the aerobic and the anaerobic exercise groups significantly decreased (P< 0.001) while it significantly increased in the control group (P = 0.02). Consequently, the difference among the groups regarding the posttest mean score of PSQI was statistically significant [P = 0.008; [Table 3]. The Tukey's post hoc test indicated that mean PSQI score in the control group was significantly higher than both the aerobic (P = 0.04) and the anaerobic (P = 0.007) groups, while the difference between the aerobic and the anaerobic groups was not statistically significant (P = 0.66).
Table 3: The mean scores of sleep quality in the aerobic, anaerobic, and control groups before and after the interventiona

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  Discussion Top


Findings indicated that both types of aerobic and anaerobic exercise significantly improved sleep quality. The amount of sleep quality improvement in the anaerobic group was greater than the aerobic group though the between-group difference was not statistically significant. Various studies reported the positive effects of exercise on sleep quality; however, to the best of our knowledge, none of the previous studies compared the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality.

In agreement with the findings of the present study, Tartibian and Abdollah Zadeh reported the positive effects of exercise on sleep quality among physically active young men.[25] Other studies also found that exercise improves sleep quality through promoting mental health, alleviating anxiety,[26] stimulating the anterior hypothalamus, changing core body temperature,[27] and regulating cytokines.[28] Similarly, Ilahi et al. found that exercise was directly correlated with sleep quality and satisfaction.[29] Most of these studies were conducted on patient populations while our sample consisted of healthy young students, denoting that exercise can improve sleep quality among both healthy individuals and patient populations. However, previous studies mainly focused on the general effects of exercise on sleep quality while the present study compared the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on sleep quality.

Contrary to our findings, some studies reported the insignificant or the negative effects of exercise on sleep quality. For example, Izadi et al. and Irwin et al. found that not only aerobic exercise does not improve sleep quality, but also exercise-induced fatigue can reduce sleep quality.[20],[30] Montgomery also reported the ineffectiveness of exercise in improving sleep quality.[30] These conflicting findings may be due to the fact that these studies were done on elderly people while our study was made on young students.[31] Besides, Buman et al. found that among different types of exercise, only mild exercise significantly improved sleep quality.[32] The contradiction between our findings and theirs may be due to the differences in the interventions and the samples of the studies.

One of the study limitations was that due to time constraints, we could not include in the study the students with poor sleep quality. Furthermore, our sample consisted only of male students. Future studies are recommended to evaluate the effects of different types of exercise on sleep quality among students with poor sleep quality as well as students of both genders.


  Conclusion Top


Doing exercise, either aerobic or anaerobic, positively affects sleep quality among male nonathlete students. Encouraging young people to do aerobic and anaerobic exercise can improve their sleep quality and health. Thus, the physical training course for students needs to include both types of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Moreover, adequate sporting facilities need to be provided for students.

Acknowledgments

The authors appreciate the help and support of Kerman and Zahedan Islamic Azad Universities, Kemran and Zahedan, Iran, as well as the participation of students in the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

This paper extracted from a Master's thesis in exercise physiology which was conducted in Kerman Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran. The grant code was 10821410922003.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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