We already know that exercise can relieve insomnia - and now a new, more encompassing study has reached similar conclusions and gives us some more specific advice.
According to researchers at Oregon State University, those who get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week sleep significantly better. To put this definition into perspective, if you want to enjoy 'moderate' exercise through walking, you should aim for a pace of 100 steps per minute (this is the national guideline in the United States for physical activity).
The study involved a nationally representative sample of over 3,000 individuals of both genders, with an age range of 18-85.
Individuals who followed the exercise guidelines reaped a host of other benefits, too. Namely:
- Daytime sleepiness fell by 65%
- Leg cramps during the night fell by 68%
- Difficulty concentrating when tired fell by 45%
This is an important study for two reasons. First, we now have specific guidelines in terms of exercise intensity and duration for improving sleep. Secondly, the study objectively measured the exercise levels of its participants - most studies rely on self-reporting which can be problematic since most people overestimate the amount of activity they do.
We strongly believe that exercise can be one way to improve the quality of your sleep. Even if it doesn't work for you, you still get to enjoy the health benefits of being active. Before you change your exercise regime though, it may be a good idea to speak with your doctor.
Don't try going from couch potato to marathon runner overnight!
Last updated: March 23, 2012