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Exercise before Bedtime Improves Sleep

Update Date: Mar 04, 2013 05:31 AM EST

Exercising just before sleeping won't harm your sleep and will in fact help you sleep better, according to a poll conducted by National Sleep Foundation.

"Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help," says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

The recent poll, called The 2013 Sleep in America® annual poll, was conducted for the National Sleep Foundation by WB&A Market Research. The poll included 1,000 people aged between 23 and 60 years. Study participants were asked to self-report their physical activity levels over the past seven days. Researchers then classified participants based on their levels of physical activity and assessed the amount of sleep each group was getting.

Study results showed that people who were vigorous exercisers reported better sleep than moderate and light exercisers. People who reported no exercise during the past week had problems with sleeping and these people were more likely to report poor sleep quality.

"If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night's sleep. Making this small change and gradually working your way up to more intense activities like running or swimming could help you sleep better," said Max Hirshkowitz , Ph.D, poll task force chair, according to a news release.

Exercise boosts life expectancy, even in those who are obese, a recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine had found. Researchers from this study had reported that moderate to vigorous activities like brisk walking can add some 3.5 years or more to the life span of a person. According to a recent study published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, aerobic exercise is better than mental exercises in keeping the brain healthy in old age.  Exercise has also been found to be helpful in protecting from future stress and anxiety.

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