Preferred Name

Meghan Peterson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Graduate Kinesiology


Trent Hargens

Elizabeth Edwards

Christopher Womack


Long-term poor sleep quality is associated with health outcomes that can lead to autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Both cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity (PA) are associated with improvements in autonomic function and heart rate variability (HRV). Markers of fitness and sleep were explored to determine the degree of contribution to autonomic dysfunction. A total of 15 subjects, (age = 20.6±0.5; BMI = 23.9±1.0) completed 7 days of physical activity and sleep assessment via accelerometry. Participants then completed a graded exercise test to determine cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max), followed by a 24-H HRV measurement. HRV through LF:HF ratio was negatively associated with moderate physical activity (MPA) (4.6% ± 0.7), percent in MPA, total moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and percentage spent in MVPA (2.6 ± 0.4 vs. 4.1 ± 1.7, p = 0.04). Students that obtained less than 7 hours of sleep tended to participate in lighter intensities of physical activity (333.6 ± 71.1 vs. 261.5 ± 68.3). Individuals that obtained more than 7 hours of sleep spent more time in vigorous exercise (3.2 ± 3.1 vs. 6.7 ± 4.5). Having a lower HRV status is associated with less time participating in MVPA. This demonstrates the importance of MVPA written for the general population and should be applied to college students, especially those that may lack proper sleep.



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