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Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives

Authors Fairbrother K, Cartner B, Alley J, Curry C, Dickinson D, Morris D, Collier S

Received 3 September 2014

Accepted for publication 7 October 2014

Published 12 December 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 691—698


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Daniel A. Duprez

Kimberly Fairbrother,1 Ben Cartner,1 Jessica R Alley,1 Chelsea D Curry,1, David L Dickinson,2 David M Morris,1 Scott R Collier1

1Vascular Biology and Autonomic Studies Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, 2Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA

Background: During nocturnal sleep, blood pressure (BP) “dips” compared to diurnal BP, reducing stress on the cardiovascular system. Both the hypotensive response elicited by acute aerobic exercise and sleep quality can impact this dipping response.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of aerobic exercise timing on circadian BP changes and sleep architecture.
Materials and methods: Twenty prehypertensive subjects completed the study. During four test sessions, participants first completed a graded exercise test to exhaustion and then performed 30 minutes of treadmill exercise at 7 am (7A), 1 pm (1P), and 7 pm (7P) in a random, counterbalanced order at 65% of the heart rate obtained at peak oxygen uptake. An ambulatory cuff was used to monitor BP responses during 24 hours following exercise, and an ambulatory sleep-monitoring headband was worn during sleep following each session.
Results: Aerobic exercise at 7A invoked a greater dip in nocturnal systolic BP than exercise at 1P or 7P, although the greatest dip in nocturnal diastolic BP occurred following 7P. Compared to 1P, 7A also invoked greater time spent in deep sleep.
Conclusion: These data indicate that early morning may be the most beneficial time to engage in aerobic exercise to enhance nocturnal BP changes and quality of sleep.

Keywords: nocturnal dipping, prehypertension, aerobic exercise

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