Quality of Sleep linked to Physical Activity

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sleeping by CarbonNYC/Flickr

Exercise may help you sleep better, researchers say.

A new study concludes that following the National Health Guidelines of moderate or vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week, can increase improvement in sleep quality by 65 percent.

"We were using the physical activity guidelines set forth for cardiovascular health, but it appears that those guidelines might have a spillover effect to other areas of health," said Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise science at Oregon State University and one of the study's authors.

The study was published in the December issue of the journal Mental health and Physical Activity.

Researchers found that relative risk of often feeling overly sleepy during the day compared to never feeling overly sleepy during the day decreased by 65 percent for participants meeting the physical guideline of exercising 150 minutes per week.

Similar results were also found for having leg cramps while sleeping (68 percent less occurrence) and having difficulty concentrating when tired (45 percent decrease).

"Our findings demonstrate a link between regular physical activity and perceptions of sleepiness during the day, which suggests that participation in physical activity on a regular basis may positively influence an individual's productivity at work, or in the case of a student, influence their ability to pay attention in class, said Paul Loprinzi, an assistant professor at Bellarmine University and lead author of the study."

Researchers pointed out that exercise has a number of health benefits, and that can include helping feel alert and awake.

"Physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep," Cardinal concluded. 

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