Home Health Simple change can slash risk of insomnia and get you to sleep...

Simple change can slash risk of insomnia and get you to sleep quickly

Struggling to get to sleep at night is a common issue that plagues many Brits. In fact, the NHS estimates that around one in three of us will experience sleep-related issues at least once in our lives.

If this is a recurring problem for you it is possible you have insomnia – a condition in which you regularly struggle to sleep, wake up during the night and lie awake at night.

Not only can this leave you tired and irritable throughout the day, it can cause health problems if it carries on for extended periods of time.

Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors including stress, anxiety, depression, noise, light, alcohol and shift work among others.

Therefore, tackling these root causes can help improve your sleep. However, there is a simple change you can also make to your weekly routine to give you the best chance of getting a good amount of shut eye.

A new study has found that people who exercise two or three times a week are less likely to have problems sleeping.

They were also more likely to get between six and nine hours of sleep per night, according to scientists.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal, followed 4,399 participants from various European countries over a 10-year period.

They were divided into four groups based on their levels of physical activity including “persistently non-active” (meaning they were non-active at the start of the study and during follow-up), “became inactive” (they were active at the start and inactive at follow-up), “became active” and “persistently active”.

Over the course of a decade, 37 percent of the people taking part remained inactive, 18 percent became physically active, 20 percent became inactive, and 25 percent remained active.

Participants in Norway were the most likely to be persistently active, while participants in Spain, followed by Estonia and Britain, were most likely to be persistently inactive.

The researchers, from Reykjavik University, found that “persistently active participants” were 42 percent less likely to find it difficult to fall asleep.

They also had a 22 percent lower chance of having any symptoms of insomnia, and were 40 percent less likely to report two or three insomnia symptoms.

Regular exercisers were significantly (55 percent) more likely to be normal sleepers – meaning they got between six and nine hours of sleep a night.

Even people who had not exercised previously, but who then took up exercise over the study period, were 21 per cent more likely to be normal sleepers than those who were persistently inactive.

Persistently non-active people were therefore the least likely to fit into the “normal sleep category” of sleeping six hours to nine hours each night.

The study concluded: “The main results of this study were that participants who reported being physically active at the start and end of a 10-year follow-up period were less likely to report insomnia symptoms at the follow-up.

“We also found that subjects who are persistently active are more likely to sleep the recommended six to nine hours.

“This association remained statistically significant after adjusting for sex, age, smoking history and body mass index (BMI).

“We also found that persistently active participants were more often men, were younger, had a slightly lower BMI and were less likely to be current smokers and more likely to be currently working.

“Our results are in line with previous studies that have shown the beneficial effect of physical activity on symptoms of insomnia, but the current study additionally shows the importance of consistency in exercising over time, because the association was lost for initially active subjects who became inactive.”

The NHS recommends taking part in at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.


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