Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Does Exercise Help with Sleep?

Today, it is very common that a person has a medical concern, visits a doctor, and then is prescribed some sort of medication.  It is also a commonality to hear of people with problems falling asleep and staying asleep.  When sleep-deprived, day-to-day tasks can become more difficult to accomplish, which leads many to seek treatment.  That treatment often comes in the form of an over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid.  Turning to sleep aid drugs may not be the only solution, though!  In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine just last week, it was shown that just by consistently exercising over time, individuals who experience insomnia slept an average of 45 minutes longer and woke up less often.  Two groups of women were separated into an exercise (3-4 thirty-minute exercise sessions per week for 16 weeks) and a non-exercise group.  Neither group exercised regularly prior to the study.  Those in the exercise group, after 4 months of consistently following the procedure saw improvements and even felt more energized! 

                Thinking about how exercise and diet interrelate, this study does have a connection to dietetics.  It has been shown that we make less healthy choices concerning our diets when we do not get enough sleep at night.  This is yet another example of how exercise and diet (and sleep!) are related!

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