Exercising Can Help You to Sleep Better

Posted 07/17/2015 | By HealthCorps

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) getting insufficient sleep is now an epidemic among teens and adults, with 30% of adults sleeping less than six hours on a regular basis, and more than 30% of teens not getting enough sleep nightly. The consequences of inadequate sleep include poor daytime focus, motor vehicle accidents, difficulty performing daily tasks, and an increased risk of chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, cancers). The most common causes of sleep insufficiency are busy work schedules, family obligations, and an inability to turn off technology because of its 24 hour access.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that Americans take sleep more seriously. Avoiding caffeine, large meals and alcohol too close to bedtime can help. Disconnecting from technology, keeping your bed for “sleep only,” and keeping the room dark and cool can also help to set you up for better sleep.

Many studies have also identified exercise as one way to help to get your body weary and prepared for sleep. The caveat is not to do vigorous exercise too close to bedtime. In addition to traditional aerobic efforts and resistance training, mind-body exercises like Tai chi, yoga, and qi gong can also help to improve sleep. And embracing regular exercise is far better than turning to pharmaceutical aids for help. Many sleep aids have other side effects, and some of them can be addictive or make you susceptible to dependency.

Source: Today’s Dietician, Volume 17 No. 3, March 2015

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