Sleeping solutionBy John Pastor • Published: December 7th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Have too many nights spent tossing and turning gotten you down?
Don’t like medications that give you a one-way ticket to slumberland?
Tired of feeling tired?
Well, the drug-free prescription for you insomniacs… and that includes half of people who are middle-aged or older, most of them women… may be none other than that old standby that helps stave off heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and a multitude of ailments.
We’re talking about good, old aerobic exercise.
A study from Northwestern Medicine reveals that regular aerobic exercise improves quality of sleep, mood and vitality.
Scientists concentrated on relatively inactive adults who were 55 and older and had difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Seventeen of them went through some physical conditioning. Then they were given an aerobic schedule that included eight twenty-minute workout sessions per week.
Volunteers in the less strenuously active, recreational group devoted their time to cooking classes, museum lectures and similar pursuits.
They met for about forty-five minutes three to five times per week.
Both groups were schooled in good sleeping habits, such as going to bed at the same time every night in a cool, dark and quiet room.
After sixteen weeks, they were quizzed about their sleep quality, mood and quality of life.
Aerobic exercisers reported that they slept longer and their quality of sleep was better. They were also happier, had more vitality and were not as sleepy in the daytime.
In the end, scientists think that aerobic physical activity with sleep hygiene education is a good way to approach chronic insomnia in older adults.
Best of all, it is a drug-free solution. Although counting sheep is still permissible.