Some Physical Activities Help You Sleep Better and Some Can Keep You from Getting a Good Night’s Rest…

9 Sep

Do You Know Which Are Which?

Are you tired? Do you wake up more exhausted than when you went to bed? Do you gulp down coffee just to try to make it through the day?

If you do, you are not alone. In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data from 74,571 people and found: “35.3% reported <7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period, 48.0% reported snoring, 37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, and 4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month. This is the first CDC surveillance report to include estimates of drowsy driving and unintentionally falling asleep during the day. The National Department of Transportation estimates drowsy driving to be responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.”

Not only that, experts from the CDC report that people experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.

There has been quite a bit of debate as to how many hours of sleep the average person needs. Some people need relatively little sleep while others need much more.

What Is the Optimal Amount of Sleep for You?

That is not an easy question, and it cannot be answered here. But here is something that can help you…

There is no doubt quality of sleep is more important than quantity of sleep. In other words, great sleep for a relatively short time can be much more beneficial than longer periods of poor quality sleep.

Waking up exhausted or even more tired than when you went to bed, even when you “slept” for eight to nine hours, is a perfect example.

Let’s face it, it’s easy for someone to give you advice to get more sleep. In reality, life just doesn’t work that way. There are only so many hours in the day.

That’s why maximizing the QUALITY of the sleep you get is so important. A new study sheds some interesting light on this…

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that physical activities such as walking, aerobics/calisthenics, biking, gardening, golfing, running, weight-lifting, and yoga/pilates are all associated with better sleep habits. In contrast, the study shows that activities like household chores and childcare are associated with an increased likelihood of poor sleep habits.

This information is important because “physical activity” has long been touted as beneficial to sleep. But now, according to this study, not all activities are equal and some, in fact, have a negative impact on sleep. Dr. Michael Grandner, an instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn adds, “Although previous research has shown that lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep, the results of this study were surprising. Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf. It was also interesting that people who receive most of their activity from housework and childcare were more likely to experience insufficient sleep – we know that home and work demands are some of the main reasons people lose sleep.”

The study did not discuss WHY these different activities affected sleep so differently, but here is one possibility that might help you get better sleep…

Most people don’t have the option of skipping on doing housework or caring for their children. But, it is distinctly possible that the mental aspect of these activities is what’s causing the problem.

In Other Words: Stress

Prolonged stress is, without a doubt, a killer. In a pinch, the stress response can save your life. But if you’re stressed all the time, it can have a detrimental effect on your body. Stress can increase your risk for obesity, high blood pressure, headaches, digestive problems, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, and more. It can also cause you to lay awake at night staring at the ceiling.

Going for a walk, practicing yoga, and playing a sport are enjoyable, mentally relaxing activities. Childcare can be very stressful, and quite frankly, for most people, housework is not the most fun!

Here are two things you can do… The first is to stress less when doing those activities. Once again, easier said than done.

That’s why this second approach is probably more realistic: Start doing one or more “positive sleep activities.”

It is easier to find the time for a 20-minute walk than it is to find and extra two to three hours to try to sleep. Walking is one of the best things you can do for both your physical and mental health.

Because having back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other forms of musculoskeletal pain can make physical activity more difficult, if not impossible, seeking treatment from a doctor of chiropractic may help reduce your overall stress levels and help make exercise easier, both of which can help you sleep better.

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

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