Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Insomnia? Exercise day, you'll fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer

According to an article I read in the NY Times today, several sleep studies have proven the assumed connection not only between exercising and falling asleep more easily but also between exercise and sleeping longer.  Walking my big dog twice a day isn't enough to end insomnia.  Tom (my sweetheart), you were right.  I'm hitting the gym every day from now on.  I WANT TO SLEEP BETTER!

Clin Sports Med. 2005 Apr;24(2):355-65, xi.

Effects of exercise on sleep.

Department of Exercise Science, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 1300 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA. syoungstedt@sc.edu
Historically, perhaps no daytime behavior has been more closely associated with better sleep than exercise. The assumption that exercise promotes sleep has also been central to various hypotheses about the functions of sleep. Hypotheses that sleep serves an energy conservation function, a body tissue restitution function, or a temperature down-regulation function all have predicted a uniquely potent effect of exercise on sleep because no other stimulus elicits greater depletion of energy stores, tissue breakdown, or elevation of body temperature, respectively. Exercise offers a potentially attractive alternative or adjuvant treatment for insomnia. Sleeping pills have a number of adverse side effects and are not recommended for long-term use, partly on the basis of a significant epidemiologic association of chronic hypnotic use with mortality. Other behavioral/cognitive treatments are more effective for chronic insomnia treatment, but difficult and costly to deliver. By contrast, exercise could be a healthy, safe, inexpensive, and simple means of improving sleep.
PMID: 15892929 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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