Research Study Abstract

Temporal and bi-directional associations between sleep duration and physical activity/sedentary time in children: An international comparison

  • Published on Jun 2018

Abstract: The purpose of this multinational and cross-sectional study was to investigate whether nighttime sleep duration was associated with physical activity (PA) and sedentary time (SED) the following day, whether daytime PA/SED were associated with sleep duration the subsequent night, and whether the associations were modified by sex and study sites. Data from 5779 children aged 9-11years were analyzed. A waist-worn Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometer was used to assess children’s 24-h movement behaviours for 7days, i.e. sleep duration, total SED, light-intensity physical activity (LPA), and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). Multilevel linear regression models were used to account for the repeated measures nested within participants (there were up to 7 sleep→PA/SED and PA/SED→sleep pairings per participant) and schools, and adjusted for covariates. To facilitate interpretation, all sleep and PA/SED variables were standardized. Results showed that the relationship between sleep and PA/SED is bi-directional in this international sample of children. Specifically, for each one standard deviation (SD) unit increase in sleep duration, SED the following day decreased by 0.04 SD units, while LPA and MVPA increased by 0.04 and 0.02 SD units, respectively. Sleep duration decreased by 0.02 SD units and increased by 0.04 SD units for each one SD unit increase in SED and MVPA, respectively. Sleep duration was not affected by changes in LPA. These associations differed across sex and study sites in both directions. However, since the observed effect sizes are subtle, public health initiatives should consider the clinical and practical relevance of these findings.


  • Lin Y 1
  • Tremblay MS 2
  • Katzmarzyk PT 3
  • Fogelholm M 4
  • Hu G 3
  • Lambert EV 5
  • Maher C 6
  • Maia J 7
  • Olds T 6
  • Sarmiento OL 8
  • Standage M 9
  • Tudor-Locke C 10
  • Chaput JP 11


  • 1

    Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.

  • 2

    Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.

  • 3

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, USA.

  • 4

    University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

  • 5

    University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

  • 6

    University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

  • 7

    CIFI2D, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

  • 8

    Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.

  • 9

    University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom.

  • 10

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, USA; University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, USA.

  • 11

    Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.


Preventive Medicine


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