A study found that some people with sleep disorders should try exercising instead of taking sleeping pills.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and published last October in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and authored by EurekAlert.
Most people suffer from sleep disorders from time to time, but between 10% and 20% of the population suffer more than others from serious and long-term sleep disorders.
Dr Linda Ernstsen, an associate professor at the School of Nursing and Public Health at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, says researchers have noticed that people who are more physically fit are less likely to take sleeping pills .
Link patient health information to their prescriptions
The researchers looked at information from participants in the Great Norwegian Trøndelag Health Survey (the HUNT study), which has taken 240,000 people since the survey began in 1984, and which took place over 4 rounds.
Health surveys allow researchers to track changes in people’s health over a period of years. This time, the researchers were able to link the information from the survey to the information available in the Norwegian Prescription Database, and the participants were followed up in the third round of the survey, which was held in August 2006. until early January 2018.
According to Dr. Ernstsen, approximately 5,800 participants received their first prescription for sleeping pills during the study period. This means that 17% of the participants suffered from sleep disturbances severe enough that the doctor prescribed them medication to help them sleep.
Participants who were in better physical shape received fewer prescriptions containing sleeping pills. So, according to Dr. Ernstsen, the study results indicate that being physically fit will also help you sleep better.
Sport helps men sleep better
The study also showed that the effect of exercise on sleep was better for men than for women, and that physically fit men needed 15% less sleep aids, while the percentage was much lower for physically fit women.
The adults in the study were followed for a long time, leading the researchers to believe that their findings could influence the advice doctors give to their patients. Dr Ernstsen says the findings support the idea that improving and maintaining physical fitness is an effective treatment for preventing sleep disorders.
Benefits of physical activity and sport
- Helps control weight.
- Reduce the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Prevention of certain types of cancer.
- There is a potential role for exercise in preventing depression.
- Helps improve blood sugar and fat levels and increase the concentration of good high-density lipids (HDL) in the blood.
- Prevention and control of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Improve mood and help reduce stress.
- Muscle building and maintenance of muscle mass.
- Help to sleep well, provided you do not exercise just before bedtime as this can give you energy, but rather exercise several hours before bedtime.
types of physical activities
Physical activities are divided into 3 main groups, each with characteristics, and works to develop a specific aspect of your body, muscles and bones, namely:
These are the activities during which the body consumes oxygen to produce the energy necessary for its performance, and it includes walking, brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming, cleaning the house and games with the little ones.
Walking is the most popular outdoor exercise because it is easy and requires no special equipment except suitable sports shoes and a will, and it is suitable for most people, and it can be practiced by the sea, on the slopes of the mountains, or even in the hallway of the house.
These are activities that involve resistance against another force, such as resisting your own weight when doing push-ups, the weight of dumbbells, or the weight of vegetables when carrying a bag of groceries. Usually, in these exercises, the body activates the process of anaerobic respiration to produce the energy needed by the muscles.
Strength training has significant benefits, as it works to preserve muscle mass in your body and resist its decline with age, after the age of thirty we lose approximately 1% of our muscle mass each year, which means that we become weaker as our base metabolic rate decreases, ie the amount of calories The calories the body burns at rest to perform its basic functions.
And with a lower basal metabolic rate, you burn fewer calories, which increases your risk of putting on extra pounds of fat. Therefore, maintaining and increasing your basal metabolic rate helps you maintain a healthy weight. This is what strength exercises do that also maintain and increase muscle mass.
And when your basal metabolic rate increases, that means you burn more calories even when you’re sitting, because your large amount of muscle needs more calories even when you’re resting. It’s like earning money while you sleep in your bed.
These are the activities that give joints and muscles the flexibility needed for exercise and other daily activities.
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