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Abstract

Introduction: The effects of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle on overall health have been thoroughly researched. It is also common for college women to prioritize studying over healthy sleeping habits. However, little is known regarding Body Mass Index (BMI) and activity level and their relationship with sleep quality among college women. Determining these relationships would be beneficial in educating college women about the implications of their behaviors. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to: 1) explore the relationship between BMI and sleep quality, and 2) examine the relationship between levels of physical activity and sleep quality among college women. Method: This secondary data analysis uses partial data from phase I of the Psychoneuroimmunological (PNI) Biomarkers and Health Outcomes in College Women study. A convenience sample of 68 Georgia State University students (mean age=26.4, SD= 7.5) completed a 7-day sleep diary including questions about sleep quality measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Physical activity was calculated by using an average of self-reported 7-day physical activity. BMI was calculated based on self-reported height and weight. Results: Over 67.6 % of the study participants were categorized as poor sleepers (PSQI > 5), and 23.5 % were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25). Although it was not statistically significant, the mean activity level was negatively correlated with BMI (r =-.10). In addition, higher activity level was significantly correlated with the amount of time to fall asleep (r= -.28, p< .05), and participants with normal BMI had better sleep efficiency (r =.29, p< .05). The T-test revealed that poor sleepers reported significantly lower physical activity levels than good sleepers (t [66] = - 2.03, p< .05). However, there was no statistically significant relationship between sleep quality and BMI in this sample. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrated that poor sleep was significantly associated with low physical activity but was not associated with BMI. The disconnection between BMI and sleep quality could be explained by both metabolic resiliency and small sample size. Further research should use a larger sample size and consider exploring other factors relating to sleep quality in this population.

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