Exercise as it relates to Disease/Aerobic Exercise and its effect on Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder that displays symptoms of;
- Increased sleep onset latency.
- Frequent awakenings during sleep with difficulty getting back to sleep.
- Non-restorative sleep.
Insomnia is often diagnosed as either acute or chronic. Acute insomnia involves difficulties with sleep lasting less than a month while chronic insomnia is associated with problems persisting longer than a month. Insomnia can also be catergorised as primary or secondary. Primary is the term given to subjects who cannot sleep for no apparent reason while secondary members cannot sleep due to an underlying condition.
Insomnia is more common in women and the elderly. With chronic insomnia affecting approximately 15% of adults, while some studies have reported that insomnia incidence rises to 50% in the elderly population. Given the widespread occurrence of insomnia, it is now the most prevalent sleep disorder. Severe sleep deprivation also induces stress on carers and is a common cause for instigating institutional care. If chronic insomnia is not treated effectively it can lead to a magnitude of other conditions including;
- High blood pressure
- Type ‖ Diabetes
- Heart Disease
Aerobic exercise and insomnia
The most common treatment for insomnia is pharmacological which may lead to a drug related tolerance or dependency. However, benefits can be achieved through regular moderate aerobic exercise. A regular aerobic exercise regime displays better sleep quality in the form of greater sleep duration, less sleep onset latency and a more restorative sleep. Aerobic exercise also promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety and stress levels, depressive symptoms and daytime sleepiness. Participants who undertook aerobic exercise as a treatment also reported improvements in mood, vitality, slow wave sleep or greater restorative sleep and quality of life.
The following table is a general aerobic exercise regime that is applicable to the wider population.
|Trained||Moderate/Vigorous||60 mins||5+ days/week|
|Untrained||Moderate||30-40 mins||3–4 days/ week|
Moderate Intensity: 75% of maximum heart rate.
Vigorous Intensity: 85% of maximum heart rate
To obtain the maximum benefit from aerobic exercise subjects should also adhere to the subsequent guidelines;
- Exercise 4–8 hours before going to sleep.
- Undertake sleep hygiene education which provides instructions or help to maximize beneficial sleeping habits.
- Maintaining a sleep log.
- Avoiding drinking alcohol before going to bed.
Finally exercise need not be intense to attain significant results. While the greatest benefits were seen in participants who exercised for over an hour, moderate exercise reduced total time awake compared to intense exercise. In fact research shows that prolonged intense exercise actually increased insomnia symptoms
National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep
Sleep Health Foundation http://sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pdfs/Insomnia.pdf
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