Not just good for heart health, waist line and beach arms, it can also help you sleep…
Daniel Cornish presents some simple evidence demonstrating the importance of exercise for getting a good night sleep.
Time and time again, our clients at their initial assessment tell us one of their main goals of beginning Exercise Physiology treatment is to “increase energy levels”. We know that a wide range of factors influences our energy and stamina: consuming a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and of course getting a good night sleep. About 35-40% of us have problems with falling asleep or with daytime sleepiness. If you’re one of those 35-40%, or if you’ve struggled with sleep in the past, what have you tried as a remedy? Was it effective?
As Exercise Physiologists, we’ve always told our clients the first step to improving their sleep quality is to begin some moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes on most, if not all days of the week. Well, a recent study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity now provides evidence to this recommendation. A representative sample of approx. 2600 18-85 year olds found that 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity activity provided a 65% improvement in sleep quality.
After controlling for age, BMI, smoking status, and depression, the study results showed the relative risk of often feeling overly sleepy during the day compared to never feeling overly sleepy during the day decreased by 65 percent for participants meeting physical activity guidelines, compared to those not meeting guidelines. Results also showed regular exercise reduced the likelihood you’ll have difficulty concentrating when feeling tired, and less likelihood you’ll have leg cramps when sleeping!
So what are you waiting for? Go for a lunchtime walk around the block, try riding your bike to work, or hit the gym for a short session. Both your mind and body will thank you for it!
Sleep fun facts:
1. Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night indicates that you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you’re still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.
2. Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock.
Loprinzi, P. D. % Cardinal,B. J. 2011. Association between objectively-measured physical activity and sleep, NHANES 2005–2006, Mental Health and Physical Activity, Volume 4, Issue 2, Pages 65-69.
Listverse 2012. Top 20 Facts About Sleep, accessed 28 February 2012, <http://listverse.com/2007/10/29/top-20-facts-about-sleep>
For further information, and to find out how a tailored lifestyle plan will assist with your health, fitness, or rehabilitation goals, don’t hesitate to contact Health in Balance on 03 9523 5110.