Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine studied 17 sedentary adults, all of whom suffered from chronic insomnia, to asses the effect of regular moderate aerobic exercise on sleep. For 16 weeks participants assigned to the aerobic physical activity group exercised for two 20-minute sessions four times per week or one 30-to-40-minute session four times per week. Those in the nonphysical-activity group participated in nonphysical recreational or educational activities for approximately 45 minutes three to five times per week. Both groups received education about good sleep hygiene.
Exercise improved participants’ self-reported sleep quality so much that their scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index dropped by an average of 4.8 points—enough to be elevated from a diagnosis of “poor sleeper” to one of “good sleeper.” Those in the physical-activity group also reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality and less daytime sleepiness.
“This is relevant to a huge portion of the population,” said Phyllis Zee, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Medicine and senior author of the paper. “It is essential that we identify behavioral ways to improve sleep. Now we have promising results showing aerobic exercise is a simple strategy to help people sleep better and feel more vigorous. By improving a person’s sleep, you can improve physical and mental health. Sleep is a barometer of health, like someone’s temperature. It should be the fifth vital sign.”
Reid, K.J., et al. (2010). Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia. Sleep Med. 11:934-840.
—Dr. Bob Goldman
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Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations. Dr. Goldman has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University; as an Affiliate at the Philosophy of Education Research Center, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, He is Clinical Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea Medical University; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Central America Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Goldman holds the positions of Visiting Professor, Udayana University School of Medicine, Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Huazhong University of Science & Technology Tong Ji Medical School, China; Visiting Professor, The Wuhan Institute of Science & Technology, China; Visiting Professor at Hainan Medical College, China; and Visiting Professor, School of Anti-Aging, Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, UCSI University, Malaysia. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He has overseen cooperative research agreement development programs in conjunction with such prominent institutions as the American National Red Cross, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the FDA’s Center for Devices & Radiological Health.
Dr Goldman was awarded the 2012 LifeTime Achievement Award in Medicine &Science. Dr. Goldman is the recipient of the ‘Gold Medal for Science, the Grand Prize for Medicine, the Humanitarian Award, and the Business Development Award. He received honors from Minister of Sports and government Health officials of numerous nations. In 2001, Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Dr. Goldman the International Olympic Committee Tribute Diploma for contributions to the development of sport & Olympism.
In addition, Dr. Goldman is a black belt in karate, Chinese weapons expert, and world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records, he has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of his past performance records include 13,500 consecutive situps and 321 consecutive handstand pushups. Dr. Goldman was an All-College athlete in four sports, a three time winner of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Physical Fitness Award, was voted Athlete of the Year, was the recipient of the Champions Award, and was inducted into the World Hall of Fame of Physical Fitness. Dr. Goldman was awarded the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldman is Chairman of the International Medical Commission overseeing sports medicine committees in over 184 nations. He has served as a Special Advisor to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. He is founder and international President Emeritis of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the cofounder and Chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Goldman visits an average of 20 countries annually to promote brain research and sports medicine programs.