Dr. Anne is the resident physician for the Life, Love & Health radio show airing on XM radio and NPR affiliates, among others. She has won numerous awards for her work in health policy and promotion of medical nutrition therapy and anti-smoking treatment.
Have you ever been so physically tired that you fell asleep almost before your head touched the pillow? Studies show that moderate intensity endurance exercise during the day can help you sleep more soundly at night.
Researchers studied dozens of adults age 55 and older who had mild to moderate long-term sleep problems. All of them were considered physically underactive in other words, what some might lightheartedly call "couch potatoes." They assigned patients to 80 minutes of physical activities such as walking, stationary cycling, and gentle aerobics. They found that for the exercisers, getting to sleep was easier, sleep duration was longer, and overall sleep quality was improved. Exercisers felt more rested in the morning, and felt less of a need to nap during the day.
Vigorous exercise too close to bedtime can be energizing for some people, and may make it harder to get to sleep. However, individuals differ. In this study, exercise was completed 2 hours or more before bedtime. There are so many benefits to low-impact exercise now we can add it too to the list of tips for improved sleep.
Sweet dreams to you,
This information is purely educational and does not replace a physician's advice that may be unique to each individual. For all medical concerns, please see a physician to establish a diagnosis and explore proven treatments.