Too Much Time Spent Sitting, TV Viewing May Increase Sleep Problems

Matthew Buman PhD Asst Professor SNHP Exercise & Wellness Arizona State Interview with:
Matthew Buman PhD Asst Professor
SNHP Exercise & Wellness
Arizona State University


Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Buman: A lack of physical activity is a known risk factor for insomnia, poor sleep, and obstructive sleep apnea. In addition to physical activity, sedentary behavior has emerged as an important behavior. Sedentary behavior is not just the lack of physical activity, but actually refers to the time someone spend sitting. This behavior has been shown to, independent of physical activity, be related to many poor health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even premature death. This is the first study to examine whether there is a relationship between excess sitting and insomnia, poor sleep, and risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

We found, after adjusting for physical activity and body weight (among other confounding factors), that total daily sitting was associated with poor sleep quality but not other sleep metrics or OSA risk. However, we also examined sitting while watching television and found a significant relationship between this type of sitting and a host of sleep quality metrics as well as risk for OSA. In a subsequent analysis we found that despite the independent relationship between sitting while watching television with OSA risk, those that were physically active were protected from this negative impact.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Buman: In addition to standard risk factors (weight, daytime sleepiness) for OSA and sleep difficulties, sitting should be considered as another potential factor. Given the many other negative health impacts that excessive sitting may have, patients should consider reducing their overall sitting (and TV viewing in particular) to improve overall health and potential lower risk for sleep problems.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Buman: This was a cross-sectional study, so its not possible to directly link excess sitting with the develop of sleep problems or OSA. Longitudinal studies are need to examine whether excess sitting may lead to progressive sleep problems. Furthermore, more objective methods of assessing both sleep and sitting are necessary than what was provided in this study.


Sitting and Television Viewing: Novel Risk Factors for Sleep Disturbance and Apnea Risk? Results from the 2013 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll

Buman MP, Kline CE, Youngstedt SD, Phillips B, de Mello MT, Hirshkowitz M.
Chest. 2015 Jan 29. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-1187. [Epub ahead of print] Interview with:, & Matthew Buman PhD Asst Professor (2015). Too Much Time Spend Sitting, TV Viewing May Increase Sleep Problems

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Last Updated on February 24, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD