Moderate Exercise May Help Insomnia

June 16, 2008

A session of moderate aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety and improve the quality of insomnia patients’ sleep, a Brazilian researcher says.

Giselle S. Passos of Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil divided 36 patients — eight men and 28 women — with primary chronic insomnia into three experimental groups — moderate aerobic exercise, heavy aerobic exercise and moderate strength exercise — and a control group.

After the exercise session, reductions were shown in sleep onset latency, or the length of time it takes to fall asleep — 54 percent — and wake time — 36 percent — in the moderate aerobic exercise group, while increases were shown in total sleep time — 21 percent — and in sleep efficiency — 18 percent.

In the moderate aerobic exercise group, 37 percent had a significant increase in total sleep time and 40 percent reduced their sleep onset latency. In addition, a significant reduction in the anxiety state was also observed after moderate aerobic exercise.

The findings were presented at the 22nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Baltimore.

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