Keeping active can help reduce risk of sleep apnoea, according to new findings

A summary of research published in the European Respiratory Journal

Higher levels of physical activity and fewer hours sitting still have been linked with a lower risk of sleep apnoea in a new study.

What did the study look at?

Researchers studied information from three different databases. These databases had collected health information on men and women using tests and questionnaires over several years. In this study, researchers looked at cases of sleep apnoea that had been diagnosed by a doctor, the amount of physical activity a person completed each week and how much time a person sat still while watching TV or working.

What do the results show?

The study found 8,733 cases of sleep apnoea (6,652 women, 2,081 men) across the databases. Higher levels of physical activity were linked to lower levels of sleep apnoea in all three databases. Fewer hours of sitting while watching TV or while working was also linked with lower levels of sleep apnoea.

The study also noted that the link between low levels of activity and long hours sitting was stronger in women and those who were overweight or obese.

Why is this important?

This authors report that this is the largest study of its kind that looks at the link between physical activity and the number of hours sitting down with sleep apnoea. The findings support the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle, and avoiding sitting for long periods of time, to help to reduce the risk of sleep apnoea.

Read the original research paper:

Title: Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and incidence of obstructive sleep apnea in three prospective US cohorts