The benefits of regular physical activity are well-established and well-documented, spurring public health efforts nationwide and urging the population to meet at least minimum exercise guidelines. Prior research has indicated that routine physical activity may decrease the risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and even certain cancers. However, most data stems from observational studies which assess physical activity at a single point in time and its effects on subsequent mortality and chronic disease outcomes.
Statistics indicate that almost one third of all Americans, approximately 108 million people, suffer from insomnia and poor sleep hygiene. While many turn to pharmaceuticals and sleeping pills, science offers a safer and more effective solution: exercise.
Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron states that an increasing amount of research demonstrates that exercise can reduce insomnia; moreover, those who engage in physical activity have increased energy levels, and are less depressed. Further studies assessed people with clinically diagnosed insomnia disorder, as opposed to self-described ‘poor sleepers.’ The results likewise showed enhanced sleep quality.
While Arizona State University sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt admits that while exercise is not quite as effective as sleeping pills, the considerable potential downsides of drugs and pharmaceuticals include increased infection, dementia, and other hazards.
18 million Americans also suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing temporarily stops during the night. Exercise can also assist with this; one study showed a 25% reduction of sleep apnea symptoms over a 12-week period. Youngstedt also points to the efficacy of exercise in helping with restless-leg symptoms.
A large amount of literature shows that people who exercise inevitably have better sleep, reporting an increase in deep sleep and a decrease in the number of awakenings. Moreover, most people feel less depressed, and moods are enhanced.
Attend our upcoming Sleep Workshop in West Palm Beach on July 29th, and learn more about innovative options and various techniques that can assist in healthy sleep hygiene.