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Sleep and exercise

Sleep deprivation is the removal or partial suppression of sleep, a condition that can cause various alterations in the organism, such as endocrinal, metabolic, physical, cognitive and neural changes and modifications in sleep architecture. In addition to these, the health and quality of life of the individual under these conditions are compromised. On the other hand, physical exercise that is practiced regularly brings about benefits such as improvements in the cardio-vascular, respiratory, endocrinal, muscular and humeral apparati; furthermore, it can improve the quality of sleep. However, the association of these two parameters has still not been explored, partly because of the difficulty of finding volunteers who will submit to this condition, principally without any type of financial compensation. Most of the studies that have investigated physical exercise and sleep deprivation have focused on the effects on aerobic performance. Although there are still controversies, studies point to a small or no alteration in this parameter when the two situations are present. With regard to aerobic power and strength, no significant alterations have been found. But for prolonged events it seems there is an interaction between sleep deprivation and physical exercise, which suggests a protection mechanism. However, it is important to consider that one of the most important alterations caused by sleep deprivation is an increase in subjective perception, which in itself is a factor for reducing and compromising physical performance. It may also represent an element that “masks” the harmful effects of deprivation. So the objective of the review “Sleep deprivation and physical exercise”, by researchers Hanna Karen M. Antunes, Monica L. Andersen, Sergio Tufik and Marco Tulio de Mello, from the Federal University of São Paulo, is to discuss the different aspects of the relationship between physical exercise and sleep deprivation, by showing its effects and reflections on physical performance.

Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte – v. 14 – nº 1 – Niterói – Jan./Feb. 2008