Exercise could be key to getting better, more restful sleep

CLEVELAND - National Sleep Awareness week begins Monday. For those of us trying to get a better night's rest, a new study finds working out may be key to wiping out your restless nights.

Dr. Harneet Walia did not take part in the study but treats sleep problems at the Cleveland Clinic.

"People who exercised reported to have better sleep and better quality of sleep as compared to people who did not exercise," said Dr. Walia.

Researchers at the National Sleep Foundation polled 1,000 people between the ages of 23 and 60.

They found those who exercise say they get a better night's sleep and feel more rested. Those who exercise the hardest, or more vigorously, say they sleep the best.

"The people who exercised were divided into three groups: People who exercised vigorously, people who were involved in moderate exercise and people who were involved in light exercise. Those who were involved in vigorous exercise reported to have the best quality of sleep compared to the other groups of people," said Dr. Walia.

On the flip side, researchers say they found non-exercisers sleep less and are at greater risk for sleep apnea. In fact, they found more than 60 percent of non-exercisers report they rarely have a good night's sleep.

Researchers say even adding a 10-minute walk to your routine each day could help.

"We know that exercise can improve depression. We know that exercise can improve anxiety. We know that exercise can improve the arousals. So, people who have difficulty sleeping, that is people who have insomnia, generally have these conditions that prevent them to fall asleep," said Dr. Walia.

The findings are part of the National Sleep Foundation's, " Sleep in America" poll, which can be viewed at www.sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/RPT336%20Summary%20of%20Findings%2002%2020%202013.pdf.

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