The Annual Rhythms in Sleep, Sedentary Behavior, and Physical Activity of Australian Adults: A Prospective Cohort Study

Ty Ferguson*, Rachel Curtis, François Fraysse, Timothy Olds, Dorothea Dumuid, Wendy Brown, Adrian Esterman, Carol Maher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Sleep, sedentary behavior, and physical activity have fundamental impacts on health and well-being. Little is known about how these behaviors vary across the year. 


To investigate how movement-related behaviors change across days of the week and seasons, and describe movement patterns across a full year and around specific temporal events. 


This cohort study included 368 adults (mean age = 40.2 years [SD = 5.9]) who wore Fitbit activity trackers for 12 months to collect minute-by-minute data on sleep, sedentary behavior, light physical activity (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Data were analyzed descriptively, as well as through multilevel mixed-effects linear regression to explore associations with specific temporal cycles (day-of-the-week, season) and events. 


Movement patterns varied significantly by day-of-the-week and season, as well as during annual events like Christmas-New Year and daylight saving time (DST) transitions. For example, sleep was longer on weekends (+32 min/day), during autumn and winter relative to summer (+4 and +11 min/day), and over Christmas-NewYear (+24 min/day). Sedentary behavior was longer on weekdays, during winter, after Christmas-NewYear, and after DST ended (+45, +7, +12, and +8 min/day, respectively). LPA was shorter in autumn, winter, and during and after Christmas-NewYear (−6, −15, −17, and −31 min/day, respectively). Finally, there was less MVPA on weekdays and during winter (−5 min/day and −2 min/day, respectively). 


Across the year, there were notable variations in movement behaviors. Identifying high-risk periods for unfavorable behavior changes may inform time-targeted interventions and health messaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


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