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The inconsistency of insomnia advice

As we've said before, we often see the same old insomnia advice. Often, this mentions adopting a soothing, relaxing bedtime routine. However, one article we read recently actually recommends light exercise before bed.

Apparently, a recent study from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that people who did some gentle exercise before bedtime were 54% less likely to have trouble getting to sleep and 36% less likely to wake up during the night. The article warns that vigorous exercise can be counter-productive, though - so don't go for the Schwarzenegger look.

This article should remind us not to be fooled into thinking that there is only one way to relieve or cure a sleep disorder. What works for one person may not work for another. Don't be disheartened if the advice you have found (or been given) doesn't work for you. Sleep disorders aren't simple, aren't all the same and we still know relatively little about them.

Have you found something that helps you sleep which we are typically told to avoid? If so, please share - we'd love to hear what works for you.

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Last updated: April 30, 2010

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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  • Martin Reed
    November 17, 2010, 4:51 pm

    The article doesn’t specify whether that particular study conducted by the University of Sao Paulo used insomniacs – so we’d presume they didn’t.

    I’m with you when it comes to sleeping in bed – I find it difficult to sleep without ‘winding down’ with a book before turning the lights off; against a lot of the advice you see dished out for insomnia sufferers.

  • A. Marina Fournier
    November 15, 2010, 9:54 pm

    Were the people in this study insomniacs? I’m inclined to believe they weren’t, or you would have mentioned it.

    Dr. Dement and others say you’re not supposed to read in bed, but it can often get me drowsy, which is a good start. If I had to read in another room, then get up and get into bed, it would clear the drowsiness. I don’t know if I’m an anomaly, an exception that proves the rule, or what. I just know that’s what has worked in the past.

    Besides, it is often the only time in the day I have to read a book, undisturbed. The possible negative effect is if I lie there thinking about what I’ve read–that’s what I don’t want to happen at bedtime, because I already have a hard time shutting the verbal/thinking part of my brain, It is that issue that seems to be at the seat of my insomnia.

  • Martin Reed
    December 17, 2009, 10:55 am

    Thank you for your contribution, Jess. We’ve heard a few people mention that Yoga helps them get to sleep. Hopefully when our community launches, we can dedicate a section to yoga poses and discussion so we can explore this further.

  • Jess
    December 15, 2009, 11:14 am

    I find that yoga really helps. Just one hour of class per week makes a real difference (when I can make it), and I find that a bit before bed (maybe 20 minutes) helps as well — I fall asleep faster and the sleep is much better. I’m not sure if this works for everyone, but I’ve definitely noticed positive changes.It’s not so much about exertion as the deep breathing.. Really reduces stress as well.