Battling sleep apnea and insomnia is not taken seriously by many people. Lack of sleep is a normal routine in our society and when you can’t seem to sleep, you either run to the medicinal cabinet for some sleeping pills or grab some herbal tea like chamomile to calm your nerves. However, according to a new research, aerobic exercises can be the perfect antidote for sleeplessness.
According to the researchers at the Northwestern University, sleep problems affect millions of people worldwide. However, those who suffer from sleeplessness can improve their quality and duration of sleep by increasing the amount of time spend doing physical activities. Researchers were able to conclude that individuals who participated in the study reported a definite improvement in their sleeping patterns, which enhanced their diagnosis from poor sleep to a good sleeper.
A good night’s sleep also helped them curb their depression, stress and sleepiness during the daytime, thus increasing their energy levels and vitality. The lead author of the study, Kathryn Reid, PhD, of the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology at Northwestern University, stated that a drug-free approach to treat sleeplessness is the best approach because dependence on drugs for sleeping is not a great strategy for the long-term. A drug free approach can help improve sleep by decreasing the danger of a harmful interaction with other drugs that a person might be taking for another ailment.
Most scientists that study sleep patterns agree that it is better to use behavioral patterns and ways to improve the quality of sleep. Aerobics and other types of exercises can help people sleep better and feel vigorous and refreshed after they wakeup.
In addition to a healthy diet and exercises, sleep is also a necessary ingredient for a healthy lifestyle. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology, neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, author and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Medicine, also stated that an improvement in sleep could directly and positively improve the mental and physical health of a person.
Sleep is a barometer for good health and if you want to gauge someone’s health, observe their sleeping patterns. It is as easy as taking someone’s temperature. People with poor sleeping patterns will also have a problem managing or controlling their diabetes and hypertension. Exercises can help a person boost their metabolism, help them in managing their weight and help them sleep better. A 1.25-hour increase in the duration of exercises can help people with sleeping problems much more than pharmacological drugs and interventions for sleeplessness and insomnia.
Moderate-intensity exercises such as walking, significantly reduces the time that it normally takes a person to sleep. Vigorous exercises such as lifting weights, HIIT or running did not have any significant effect on sleeping patterns. Most scientists state that sleep and the body heating patterns are directly related. Exercises can trigger a body heating process which gradually drops up until nighttime, one which can prime the body for sleeping. Exercises can also reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression and can soothe the nerves and can reduce insomnia in many patients. Physical activities can also have a dominant effect on the Circadian Rhythms or the body clock as exercises can shift the timing of the body clock, depending on the time of exercising.
According to a study published in the journal “Mental Health and Physical Activity”, people are able to sleep significantly better if they get a total of 150 minutes of exercise in a week. The study was conducted on 2,600 men and women aged between 18-85 years. Nearly 65% of participants reported improved sleeping patterns after indulging in 150 minutes of exercise in a week. This can especially help 35-40% of the population who suffers from falling asleep in the daytime or during working hours.
Another study was published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in which a sleep researcher and clinical psychologist , Kelly Glazer Baron of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, found that exercises have a direct and equal effect on the quality of physical activity.