Author(s): Gambelunghe C, Rossi R, Mariucci G, Tantucci M, Ambrosini MV
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Abstract PURPOSE: Acute physical exercise is known to enhance slow-wave sleep (SWS) and reduce paradoxical sleep (PS) in humans. In this study, we examined the effects of moderate physical exercise on sleep in rats. METHOD: Young adult Wistar rats underwent a 4-h baseline electroencephalographic (EEG) recording session. The following day, they were induced to walk (0.8 m x min(-1)) or run (4 m x min(-1)) for 45 min in a rota-rod treadmill. Active control rats (ACR) were placed on the locked rota-rod for 45 min, whereas passive control rats (PCR) remained in their home cages. They were then left free to sleep for 4 h during which EEG activity was recorded. Rectal temperature (Tre) was monitored before and after exercise in ACR, walking and running rats (WR and RR, respectively) and at 45 min intervals in PCR. RESULTS: WR were able to walk for 45 min consecutively whereas in RR performances differed. Posttraining Tre was unchanged in ACR, PCR, and WR and resulted about 1.8 degrees C above baseline in RR. In both WR and RR after exercise i) length of SWS and PS, ii) intensity of SWS (spectral power density in 1-4 Hz range), and iii) propensity for falling asleep were enhanced. Interestingly, there was a more conspicuous increment in PS than SWS. In ACR and PCR there were no changes in sleep. CONCLUSIONS: Due to the complexity of sleep regulation, the interaction of several factors might underlie the observed increment in SWS and PS. Nevertheless, it is interesting that light physical exercise favors sleep and above all a harmonic enhancement of both sleep phases.
This article was published in Med Sci Sports Exerc
and referenced in Bioenergetics: Open Access