Sleep and Your Health Part 2

Do you ever feel sleepy or “zone out” during the day? Do you find it hard to wake up on Monday mornings? Do you wake up after a night spent tossing and turning with dark shadows under your eyes and a disposition as sour as lemons? If so, you’ve probably not enjoyed enough “quality sleep” for a long time.

You may not realize that sleep is as essential for your well-being as food and water for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but many of us don’t get enough of it.

Continued from Sleep and Your Health Part 1

Getting better sleep will give you more health benefits than you realize. That’s right… Better sleep can make you smarter, slimmer, younger…and may even save your life!

If You Want to Sleep Better…Get More Exercise!

The Secrets of Sleep

Take a tip from Sleeping Beauty and learn about the secrets of sleep.

Forget About Counting Sheep

Forget warm milk and counting sheep: One of the best ways to guarantee a night of soothing, restful sleep may be to exercise more, according to the new 2013 Sleep in America poll.

The extensive survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by the National Sleep Foundation found that while exercisers and non-exercisers slept roughly the same amount of time each night, the more physically active people reported significantly better sleep quality, fewer sleep problems, and more daytime energy than those who got little activity.

And while many people think that exercising too close to bed is a surefire sleep stealer, the survey actually found that when people worked out had no effect on their sleep quality, concluding that “exercise, or physical activity in general, is generally good for sleep, regardless of the time of day the activity is performed.”

For the survey, vigorous exercise included running, swimming, cycling and team sports; moderate exercise included yoga, tai chi and weightlifting; light exercise included walking.

Here, a peek inside some of the more fascinating findings:

* Exercisers sleep better: 83 percent of vigorous exercisers report fairly to very good sleep quality, compared to 77 percent of moderate exercisers, 76 percent of light exercisers, and 56 percent of non-exercisers.

* Exercisers fall asleep more easily: A full 69 percent of vigorous exercisers, who take 16.6 minutes to fall asleep on average, say they rarely or never have trouble nodding off, compared to half of non-exercisers, who take 26.3 minutes.

* Exercisers wake up happy: 46 percent of vigorous exercisers say they rarely or never wake up feeling unrefreshed, compared to 27 percent of non-exercisers.

* Exercisers have more get-up-and-go: Half of vigorous exercisers report that they have had no problem “maintaining enthusiasm to get things done” over the past two weeks, which is significantly higher than respondents who categorized themselves as moderate exercisers, light exercisers and non-exercisers.

* Non-exercisers are more likely to drive drowsy: Compared to those who exercise, non-exercisers report the highest proportion of having trouble staying awake while driving, eating, or engaging in social activities (14 percent vs. 4 to 6 percent).

* Non-exercisers are java junkies: Those who don’t exercise say they drink an average of five caffeinated beverages on workdays, which is significantly more than their exercising counterparts (vigorous: 3.1 beverages, moderate: 3.3 beverages, light: 3.6 beverages).

* Non-exercisers are more prone to sleep apnea: More than four in ten (44 percent) non-exercisers are at a moderate risk for sleep apnea, significantly higher than all segments of exercisers. In fact, 6 percent of non-exercisers are at a high risk for sleep apnea compared to 0 percent to 1 percent of exercisers.

One note: the survey results can’t prove cause and effect. While exercise may very well lead to better sleep, it may also be the case that people who are able to exercise also have fewer health problems and therefore are more prone to sleep well than people who don’t exercise.

However, there are many biologically plausible explanations for how exercise improves sleep and fights daytime fatigue, according to the National Sleep Foundation. For one, many conditions linked with sleepiness, including obesity, diabetes, and sleep apnea, are also associated with higher levels of inflammatory chemicals—and exercise reduces levels of these substances. Exercise may also promote sleep by causing changes in body temperature that signal the brain it’s time to feel tired. And exercise may relieve feelings of depression and anxiety, which are linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Don’t let winter sabotage your exercise routine

While many of us want to lead a healthier lifestyle, a hectic schedule, cold winter and a lack of motivation all seem to get in the way. Physicians have reported seeing more patients for low back pain in the winter, which they sometimes attribute to our tendency to be “couch potatoes” when cold weather sets in.

It’s never too late to undo the damage from your couch-potato ways. There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Just start today and schedule 30 of them for exercise! Fight the urge to slouch on the couch. Instead, get up and go, and set an example for the youngsters in your life.

You don’t have to be training for the Boston Marathon to derive real health benefits from physical activity. A regular, preferably daily regimen of at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, bicycling, or even working around the house or yard can help you maintain a healthy weight, delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and reduce your risks of developing coronary heart disease. Plus, people who are active live longer, feel better, and have more fun in life!

And if you’re already doing that, you should consider picking up the pace: people who are already physically active will benefit even more by increasing the intensity or duration of their activity. Some finding suggest interval-training or more rigorous workouts will further improve sleep.

A new study also suggests we get the same health benefits from high-intensity interval training that we get from endurance training — in half the time.

The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you’ve been inactive for awhile, use a sensible approach and start out slowly to avoid injury.

Don’t spend another sleepless night tossing and turning! Contact a St Paul MN Chiropractor today. They can provide you with some surefire strategies for a truly good night’s sleep about diet, weight loss, exercise, nutritional supplements, and other lifestyle factors that can affect your sleep.

Source: Readers Digest – http://www.rd.com

After a night spent tossing and turning,