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Want to Sleep Longer? Better? Exercise.

Adding exercise to your lifestyle helps to better the human body physically and mentally. In the last few years studies have revealed how exercise can also help promote sleep. At the University of South Carolina, exercise was studied as a treatment for insomnia. Researchers concluded how adding exercise could potentially be an effective way of treating insomnia rather than expensive therapies and short term sleeping pills.

At Stanford University, a study was conducted on a group of healthy adults that reported moderate levels of sleep complaints. This group of men and women were subjected to exercise training and after a period of time the adults began reporting improved sleep quality. The study concluded how adding a moderate intensity-exercise program aids in improving sleep onset (the amount of time to fall asleep) and increases sleep duration. Parents, brace yourselves, a similar study was conducted on a group of children and yielded similar results. The study revealed how closely physical activity and sleep onset were linked; the more sedentary the child’s lifestyle was, the longer it took for them to fall asleep. Those children that were more active throughout the day were the ones that fell asleep faster and longer.

Experts at the National Sleep Foundation suggest exercising in the late afternoon in order to let the body adjust its temperature before going to bed.  A recent study conducted at UCLA revealed that the timing of your exercises is more vital than what was previously thought. Researchers at UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry studied the circadian rhythms in mice; the “internal clocks” in our bodies that govern our daily biological processes. Problems with circadian rhythms can lead to health problems such as memory loss, mood disorders and depression. The study observed mice that were exercising at a later time in the day and found that signals sent by their internal clocks were much stronger and carried out internal functions more efficiently. A review of the study by the New York Times revealed how exercising later in the evening may lead to disruptions in sleep.


-N. Tanvir

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