A study shows that regular exercise is associated with less insomnia CNN

 A study shows that regular exercise is associated with less insomnia  CNN

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Are you tired of a restless night spent awake? According to a new study, one of the most beneficial things you can do is get some exercise.

“Physically active people have a lower risk of insomnia symptoms and longer sleep duration, both long and short,” said Dr. Erla Bjornsdottir, the study’s lead author and a sleep expert. He is a part-time teacher and researcher at Reykjavik University.

The study, published on Tuesday in the journal BMJ Open, looked at data from more than 4,300 people between the ages of 39 and 67 over a 10-year period.

Björnsdóttir links to a sleep app that tracks sleep and offers tips and resources for better sleep. The company did not fund this study, and the authors report no competing interests.

Participants in nine European countries were surveyed about the frequency, intensity and duration of physical activity as well as insomnia symptoms, amount of sleep each night and feelings of daytime sleepiness.

Those who were consistently active were 55% more likely to sleep normally – those who slept 6 to 9 hours per night – and those who became active during the time period were 21% more likely to sleep normally – after adjusting for age, gender and health status. The study said that body mass index and smoking history.

The findings are powerful in their own right but are also supported by a body of existing literature, said Dr. David Neubauer, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He did not participate in the research.

“Our results are consistent with previous studies that have shown a beneficial effect of physical activity on insomnia symptoms, but the current study additionally shows the importance of consistency in exercise over time,” Bjornsdottir said in an email. “It is therefore important to be physically active throughout your life in order to reduce the risk of insomnia and short sleep duration.”

The study may give health care workers another tool besides medications and therapy, said Dr. Shalini Paruthi, co-director of the Center for Sleep Medicine and Research at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She did not participate in the research.

“It gives us insight into something we might not always think about for treating insomnia,” Paruthi said.

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The study showed that regular exercise was associated with significantly better sleep.

There are lots of reasons why physical activity helps you get a good night’s rest.

“Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving mood. Physical activity helps regulate the body’s internal clock and promotes deeper, more restorative sleep,” Björnsdottir said.

This study does not show on its own that adding exercise will reduce insomnia symptoms, Neubauer said, because it did not obtain a clear baseline of sleep quality before adding activity.

However, there is still good evidence out there.

“There is some literature that suggests that people who start to become more physically active and do more exercise have a tendency to have better nighttime sleep in terms of their total sleep time and their ability to fall asleep,” he said.

Paruthi added that it’s important to note that people who have long suffered from insomnia problems will likely not find that exercise completely cures their condition on its own.

She said it will vary individually, as some people will see amazing results, others moderate, and a group of people may not see any improvement.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is the most effective tool for treating insomnia, so people with more severe sleep problems may want to look into that as well, Paruthi added.

You don’t have to start running marathons to get the benefit. You just have to start, experts said.

“Even moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking or yoga, can have significant positive effects on sleep,” Bjornsdottir said.

Paruthi has noticed from her patients that there are always barriers to increasing activity, but any amount helps.

“Even if you can just walk two houses to the left, then come back and walk two houses to the right — that’s a great start,” she said. “Even if you spend five minutes a day, you just have to start somewhere.”

If you want to make your activity more beneficial to your circadian rhythm, you can get out into the sunlight, Neubauer said.

“Being outdoors and physically active can have a positive impact on our circadian rhythm. It is our circadian rhythm that promotes sleep at night and alertness during the day,” he said.

“The degree to which people can modify their lifestyles to promote activity, stay outdoors, and get more light certainly has the potential to have a positive impact on sleep at night.”

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