Daily Activity May Improve Sleep So says the Research

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This article was edited and updated on December 12, 2021.

If you have insomnia, no study is probably going to convince you that any particular “cure” will work for you. You’ve probably tried a lot of things already. However, this research from the International Council on Active Aging may suggest that activity during the day may help you sleep at night.

A group of more than 3000 men 67 years of age or older, and 2000 women 60 years of age or older, were monitored for one week to measure their movements and sleep patterns. Men who were more active during the day and slept better at night had a lower rate of mortality than those who stayed up late, had disturbed sleep and woke up early. Women who were active during the daytime reported less daytime napping and less insomnia than women who were inactive.

Within these two large groups, eight men and 28 women with chronic insomnia discovered that moderate aerobic exercise reduced their sleep onset latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) by 54% and wake time by 36%. There was an increase in total sleep time (21%) and in sleep efficiency (18%). A significant reduction (7%) in the anxiety state was observed after moderate aerobic exercise sessions.

“These findings indicate that there is a way to diminish the symptoms of insomnia without using medication,” said author Giselle S. 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.” 2

You may wish to check out this article, titled Insomnia: Habitual Sleeplessness or check out the other articles in this series:

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. ↩︎

  2. For more information about this research see: American Academy of Sleep Medicine (June 11, 2008). ↩︎