NEW STUDY: Daily activity may be key to quality sleep

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sleep-quality-improved-by-physical-activity(NaturalHealth365)  We all want to wake up feeling refreshed, right?  But have you ever considered that the quality of our sleep might be influenced by what we do during the day, not just before bedtime?  A recent study suggests that physical activity during the day is crucial for sleeping better at night.

Could something as simple as a midday jog hold the key to unlocking the secrets of restorative slumber?  Let’s dive into the intriguing findings of this study, exploring the link between daytime pursuits and the quality of our nightly rest.

Researchers examine how daytime physical activity affects sleep quality

Sleep quality significantly impacts our overall quality of life, yet achieving restorative sleep has been a challenge for many, partly due to limited mainstream media coverage until recent years.

The linked sleep study was conducted among children and adults residing in Australia, uncovering the multidimensional nature of sleep.  Various factors, such as exercise, environment, and other elements, collectively influence sleep quality and duration.

Researchers examined data from 1,168 children, averaging 12 years of age, and 1,360 adults, averaging 44 years old.  Notably, 87% of the adult participants were women, providing a unique perspective to the study.

Participants were equipped with wrist activity monitors for eight days to quantify their movement patterns.  Subsequent data analysis explored the correlation between sedentary time, moderate and vigorous physical activity, and sleep duration.  The study defined “healthy sleep” as continuous sleep, which is both restorative and prevents drowsiness.

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Can more exercise help you get a better night’s sleep?

The study findings indicate that individuals, both children and adults, who engaged in higher levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activity experienced improved sleep quality, characterized by more rewarding REM sleep and longer duration.  These insights are particularly significant as they stem from the first-ever study examining the relationship between 24-hour activity levels and sleep in both age groups.

It’s worth noting that individuals who prioritized sufficient sleep tended to experience more consistent sleep patterns.  Conversely, those who had shorter sleep duration often attempted to compensate for their sleep deficit, leading to variable sleep quality.  Additionally, individuals who allocated more time for sleep tended to have less efficient sleep.

Strategies to improve your sleep quality and duration

It is clear that physical activity is important for achieving deep sleep, referred to as REM sleep, in which random eye movement occurs.  Keep in mind, if you’re new to exercise or feel ‘out of shape,’ you’ll need to give yourself some time to buildup the strength needed to be physically active.  Don’t rush, be consistent and you will feel stronger.

Some suggestions to get started include: taking a walk around the block for at least half an hour one or two times per day for exercise that contributes toward a restful night of sleep.

Do some sit-ups, push-ups, weightlifting, and stretching throughout the day to give your muscles a workout that will make you feel fatigued later that night, setting the stage for quality sleep.  However, such activity should occur in the morning, afternoon, or early evening at the latest so your body and mind have sufficient time to wind down before bedtime.

Be mindful of the fact that merely allocating extra time for sleep is likely to lead to less efficient sleep patterns.  Make an effort to go to bed before 10 p.m. to get the most restorative sleep possible and get up as early as possible.  In addition, be sure to cover your bedroom window with blackout curtains and run a fan or white noisemaker (if needed) to facilitate deep and rewarding sleep.

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