If you struggle to sleep, you might be looking for a pill to take. I've told you how great melatonin is. And Advanced Sleep Formula is another supplement you can take to overcome insomnia. But did you know there's a way to beat insomnia that won't cost you a dime?
Unfortunately, most people don't really think of this as a way to sleep better. In fact, a lot of people think they need to sleep better before doing it.
That's because this insomnia treatment isn't very popular among some folks. It's exercise. You already know that of all the things you can do to stay strong and healthy, exercise heads the list. I've been hammering this home for over 30 years now. But some will say, "I'm just too tired to exercise because I don't sleep well. Give me something to help me sleep and I'll start exercising right away." Does this sound like you? Well, if it does, a new study might change how you look at this situation.
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The authors of the study started out knowing that high levels of activity and exercise training help improve sleep quality. But no one has ever explored whether minimum levels of activity would improve sleep. So they set out to see if a program of regular exercise would also improve sleep quality. Here's what they did.
They took a group of 41 men and women who were not exercising and who had severe insomnia. They divided the group in half. Half of them just maintained their normal inactive lifestyles. The other half engaged in a monitored program of two to three hours of exercise per week." The project went on for six months. Before the experiment started and at the end of the six months, the researchers measured the Insomnia Severity Index of each of the men and women. They also measured their mood and fatigue levels. Here's what happened.
At the end of the six months, the exercise group "showed significantly reduced insomnia symptom severity with an average reduction of four points on the Insomnia Severity Index." The index scores up to 28 points for the worst possible case of insomnia. So an average four-point reduction would be extremely impressive for those with less severe insomnia. In addition, the exercisers also had significantly reduced depression and anxiety scores compared to their couch potato colleagues.
So if the reason that you don't have a regular exercise routine is because you don't sleep well, start turning that around right now. As this study shows, insomnia is not a reason not to exercise. In fact, it's the opposite. It's one of the best ways to improve your sleep.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Hartescu I, Morgan K, et al. Increased physical activity improves sleep and mood outcomes in inactive people with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res. 2015 April 21.