Monday, May 13, 2013

Does Exercise Help Sleep?

The answer is yes. Anyone who suffers from insomnia knows how miserable it can be, but this Northwestern University study showed that exercise can improve sleep.

Participants in the study exercised in either two 20-minutes sessions four times a week or one 30-40 minute session four times a week. The period of the study was 16 weeks.

Compared to the control group, which participated in activities such as classes or museum lectures, the group that did the aerobic exercise reported that they went from being "poor sleepers" to being "good sleepers." They also reported other benefits, including less symptoms of depression.

Whenever a new client starts psychotherapy, exercise and sleep are two of the things I ask about.  If the client suffers from depression or anxiety - both of which can cause poor sleep, and both of which can be made worse by poor sleep - I usually recommend some form of aerobic exercise.  (Of course, the person needs to know they're medically okay for exercising.)

It's important to pick a form of exercise you like. If you hate running but love dancing... just dance to fast music!

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
New York City Psychotherapy

No comments:

Post a Comment