Aerobic Exercise Cures Insomnia

September 22, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Aerobic Exercise Cures Insomnia
A new study with 23 adults diagnosed with insomnia1, age 55 and older, found that 40 minutes of aerobics four times per week was adequate to change them from poor sleepers to good sleepers.

It is well known that the ability to get to sleep and stay asleep declines with age. I have recently reported that this lack of sleep is associated with increased early mortality. And I have also reported that the use of sleep medication is associated with increased early mortality. Here we have a simple remedy – aerobic exercise.

While this study is in middle-aged adults I am certain these results will also apply to younger people with sleep problems.

Aerobics performed later in the day in someone with sleep problems may actually cause them to have seemingly more trouble getting to sleep. This is because the aerobics can reset the biological clock, which is significantly out-of-sync. However, resetting it later in the day may sometimes be problematic. This is not always the case, but is worth understanding.

Because people with sleep problems are often tired when they wake up, especially if waking up to an alarm clock, they may not feel like exercising in the morning. However, it is my experience that solving difficult sleep problems may necessitate that an individual does aerobics soon after waking. This may require progressively waking up a bit earlier each day until a proper waking time is reached and then doing aerobics. Pushing oneself to do this will eventually reset the biological clock to “earth time.” It may take a little while to get back in sync but the extra effort is well worth it, considering that virtually all other options of a pharmacologic nature or substance-use nature are adverse to health.

Combining aerobics with sleep support nutrition and daytime energy/stress nutrition is a safe way to support improved quality of sleep.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Aerobic Exercise Helps Sleep  Sleep Medicine  Kathryn J. Reid, Kelly Glazer Baron, Brandon Lu, Erik Naylor, Lisa Wolfe, Phyllis C. Zee

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