New Study: Those Who Exercise Sleep Better and Feel More Rested
A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that regular physical exercise may encourage better sleep and less daytime fatigue. The OSU researchers looked at statistics from a U.S. health survey conducted from 2005 to 2006. For the survey, more than 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85 had their activity levels measured, and answered questions about sleep.
The exercise participants all wore accelerometers to measure their physical activity for one week. The Oregon researchers then determined how many participants met or exceeded national exercise guidelines by getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise, or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercise.
The Oregon researchers looked only at the amount of exercise, and did not consider other lifestyle factors, such as age, weight, health condition or smoking history.
Results Are In: Active Participants Felt Less Tired
The results of the study were published in the December 2011 issue of the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal. The Oregon researchers discovered that, among participants who met the national exercise guidelines, 65 percent were less likely to report feeling sleepy during the day, 68 percent were less likely to report sometimes having leg cramps, and 45 percent were less likely to report trouble concentrating when tired.
Theories among Sleep and Exercise Researchers
While the results of the study do not confirm 100 percent that exercise directly leads to better sleep, the findings are consistent with previous studies, and have inspired discussion and theories among sleep and exercise researchers.
Some researchers think that exercise helps improve sleep by helping to reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Others believe that when you burn calories through exercise, your body needs rest to recover, so you sleep better. Others have suggested that exercise helps moderate body weight, which helps people to sleep better. Whatever the reason, people are not getting enough sleep, and need help getting more.
Consider these statistics from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America® poll:
- 43 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights.
- 60 percent experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night, such as snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early or not feeling rested when they get up in the morning.
- 63 percent of Americans say they are not meeting their sleep needs during the week. Most said they need about seven and a half hours of sleep, but are actually getting just under seven hours of sleep on average weeknights.
- About 15 percent of adults between the ages of 19 and 64, and 7 percent of people ages 13 to 18 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights.
A consistent lack of quality sleep can lead to many physical problems, including the inability to concentrate, headaches and memory loss. Poor sleep can also compromise the nervous and immune systems, and has been linked to higher blood sugar levels, clinical depression, fibromyalgia in women and other disorders.
If you are consistently having trouble sleeping, it is important to speak to a doctor. Contact Eos Sleep, formerly the Manhattan Snoring and Sleep Center for an appointment today!
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