Moderate exercise can help insomniacs sleep better


Washington : Moderate aerobic exercises, not heavy exertion, is likely to reduce anxiety and improve the sleep quality of insomniacs, according to a study.

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The study, by researchers at the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, focused on 36 patients (eight men and 28 women) with primary chronic insomnia.

Volunteers were divided into three experimental groups — doing moderate aerobic exercise, heavy aerobic exercise, and moderate strength exercise — and a control group.

Following the exercise sessions, reductions were shown in sleep onset latency (54 percent) and wake time (36 percent) in the moderate aerobic exercise group.

A significant reduction of 7 percent in the anxiety state was also observed after moderate aerobic exercise session.

“These findings indicate that there is a way to diminish the symptoms of insomnia without using medication,” said Giselle S. Passos, who led the study.

“This study is the first to look at the importance of using physical exercise to treat insomnia, and may contribute to increased quality of life in people with one of the most important kind of sleep disorders around the world.”

Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, or wakes up too early.

About 30 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia. It is more common among elderly people and women.

The findings of the study were presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.