An acute session of moderate aerobic exercise, but not heavy aerobic or moderate strength exercises, can reduce the anxiety state and improve the sleep quality of insomnia patients, according to a research abstract presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by Giselle S. Passos, of Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, focused on 36 patients (eight men and 28 women) with primary chronic insomnia, who were divided into three experimental groups (moderate aerobic exercise, heavy aerobic exercise, and moderate strength exercise) and a control group.
According to the results, after the exercise session, reductions were shown in sleep onset latency (54 percent) and wake time (36 percent) in the moderate aerobic exercise group, while increases were shown in total sleep time (21 percent) and in sleep efficiency (18 percent). A significant increase in the total sleep time (37 percent) and reduction in the sleep onset latency (40 percent) were observed in the sleep log of volunteers of the moderate aerobic exercise group. Finally, a significant reduction (seven 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 Passos. "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, staying asleep or waking up too early. It is the most commonly reported sleep disorder. About 30 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia. It is more common among elderly people and women.
It is recommended that adults get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night's sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night's sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don't eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
More information about insomnia is available from the AASM at http://www.sleepeducation.com/Disorder.aspx?id=6.
The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,000 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society. The three-and-a-half-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
SleepEducation.com, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
Source: Kathleen McCann
American Academy of Sleep Medicine