“Exercise is a must for those with sleep disorders.” Although exercise has been commonly prescribed for insomnia patients, spending hours on treadmill or jogging for one day won`t translate into better sleep that night, a new study claims.
According to the study, exercising today will probably not help insomniacs sleep better tonight, although it will help a lot in the long run.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, underlines a phenomenon that causes frustrations among patients discouraging them to give up their exercise routines.
Lead author of the study, Kelly Glazer Baron says, “Patients come to us and say, ‘I exercised until I was exhausted, but I still couldn’t sleep’ “.
“It`s a long-term relationship. You have to keep at it and not get discouraged,” she stressed.
The study used facts and references from a previously published research that showed how a 16-week exercise program, combined with better sleep habits, helped people with insomnia sleep longer and better than those who worked on sleep habits alone.
During the study, the researchers took a closer look at data collected on 11 women aged 57 to 70 in the exercise program. The women carried exercise regime and maintained their sleep diaries. Their sleeping behaviours were also tracked through devices tied on their wrists. The device recorded how long they took to fall asleep, how often they woke up and how much sleep they got each night.
These women exercised for about 30 minutes three or four times a week. They mostly walked on treadmills.
The overall results turned out positive. After 16 weeks, the women were sleeping an extra 46 minutes a night – 6 hours and 40 minutes, up from 5 hours and 54 minutes, on average.
“This new study shows exercise and sleep affect each other in both directions: regular long-term exercise is good for sleep but poor sleep can also lead to less exercise. So in the end, sleep still trumps everything as far as health is concerned,” senior author Phyllis Zee, M.D., said.
Insomnia may have several origins:
- Stressing situations, such as family or work problems.
- Physical and environmental conditions surrounding the place where we rest.
- Irregular sleeping habits.
- Poor diet or bad habits such as going to sleep with hunger or having eaten too much.
- Consumption of stimulant drinks such as coffee, tea, alcohol, drinks with caffeine, tobacco…
- Stuffy nose.
- Need to use the toilet.
- Excessive anxiety.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: after having had an accident or having experienced a stressing situation, one can find it hard to sleep.