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Can regular exercise improve your quality of sleep?

People who have trouble sleeping or staying asleep may catch more Zzz's and feel more alert during the day by working out 150 minutes or more per week, according to findings published in the December issue of Mental Health and Physical Activity.

The study examined the relationship between accelerometer-measured physical activity and sleep among a nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women ages 18-85. According to a university release researchers found that adults who met the national guidelines for physical activity, which is at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality:

After controlling for age, BMI (Body Mass Index), health status, smoking status, and depression, the 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 physical activity guidelines.

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

The findings add to the growing body of research suggesting physical activity can help improve quality of sleep, vitality and mood.

Previously: Study estimates Americans' insomnia costs nation $63 billion annually, Sleep deprivation more common in the U.S. than Europe and CDC report highlights the dangers of sleep deprivation
Photo by Tulane Public Relations

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