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Get a Better Night’s Sleep With Exercise

5 reasons to start your fitness routine

In case improved overall health, reduced risk of cancer and lower blood pressure aren’t reason enough to start an exercise routine, here’s another one: Exercise will help you sleep.

[Also read: Exercising to Manage High Blood Pressure]

A 2013 National Sleep Foundation poll examined the relationship between physical activity and sleep quality. In a survey of 1,000 people across the United States, those who reported exercising regularly also reported getting better sleep, which is key to the 60 percent of adults in this country who say they have trouble getting adequate shut-eye.

The poll findings include:

1. People who work out report sleeping better. Seventy-six percent to 83 percent of exercisers said they sleep fairly well or very well, while only 56 percent of the sedentary crowd reported getting good sleep.

2. Exercise helps the day you do it. Whether they were light, moderate or intense exercisers, 51 percent reported better sleep on the days they exercised.

3. Vigorous exercise may reduce insomnia. Poll participants who reported doing the most exercise also reported the fewest insomnia symptoms. More than two-thirds of them said they rarely or never find themselves staring at the clock because of this common sleep disorder.

[Also read: Fight Insomnia With These Foods]

4. Exercise may lessen the risk of sleep apnea. People who don’t work out may have higher risk of developing sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted during the night. Forty-four percent of non-exercisers had a moderate risk of sleep apnea, while just 26 percent of light exercisers did.

5. Sedentary folks are sleepier. When people who don’t exercise were screened, 24 percent were considered excessively sleepy. A whopping 61 percent of them said rarely or never get a good night’s sleep during the work week.

[Also read: Your Body After a Night of Not-Enough Sleep]

The takeaway: Even light exercise can curtail sleepless nights.


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