Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Exercise as a Solution to Insomnia

Posted by amykr on March 22, 2009

You have seen the commercials with the moth. Take a pill and you will sleep. Or the one for the over the counter medication, you don’t even have to talk to your doctor to take that. Many people do not want to take medication. For those looking for alternatives to medicine you might want to look at exercise. This will not overcome a sleep disorder such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea.

There is also a connection between inactivity creating insomnia. The body’s circadian rhythm does not work properly and does not allow you to get the deep sleep your body requires. This leads to issues such as depression, fatigue, high blood pressure and insomnia. This issue also causes an increase in weight which can lead to sleep apnea. So you can see that there is a vicious circle that our lifestyle causes.

There are multiple studies that reinforce the fact that exercising helps to sleep better at night. The big questions are when and what type help helps to make falling asleep and staying asleep easier. To start with the research does prove that that morning exercise is better then evening exercise. It helps to support our natural body rhythm, also called circadian rhythm, to function fully. When you work out later in the day it sets the body to be awake. It also causes a reduction in the slow wave sleep, the deep restorative sleep our body needs to heal and grow.

The best type of exercise is aerobic for the morning. An exercise that allows the heart rate to increase for at least 40 minutes 5 days a week such as walking, jogging, biking or elliptical. If you are going to do this make sure you also take time to stretch. Do not overdue it because pain will undo everything you are working toward. Stretching exercises like yoga or Pilates work but not as well. If you need to exercise at night be aware that it can increase your sleep problems. If you have to do you’re exercising at night stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates would be the better choice since it does not have as strong effect on sleep.

This seems like a difficult thing to add 40 more minutes to your morning especially when you are not getting enough sleep already. It does take about 30 days of this to really see a consistent change. More importantly this is not the solution for everyone. It is a good solution for those who have insomnia and who are in good health. As always you should check with your doctor to see if this is a good solution for you.

Amy Korn-Reavis, RRT, RPSGT has been in the respiratory field for over twenty years. She has worked in all areas and is currently focusing on sleep and how to help the community feel better by sleeping better. She is the manager of Emery Sleep Solutions an independent testing facility located in Apopka, Florida. She is also the coordinator of A.W.A.K.E. Orlando a support group for people with sleep disorders If you have any questions about sleep or are looking for someone to speak at your community function she can be reached at



6 Responses to “Exercise as a Solution to Insomnia”

  1. thanks for the info. i always believe that exercise is always the best insomnia cure because the more exercise you do, the more tired you will be; thus; the easier for you to go to sleep.

  2. Sera said

    No doubt exercise is a good remedy for Insomnia but exercising too vigourously a few hours before bedtime can actually keep you awake. My suggestion is to do simple yoga exercises that help you to relax and promote sleep.

    • amykr said

      As i said in my post. It is best to exercise in the morning. Stretching exercises at night such as yoga or pilates are best if you exercise in the evening. It is just a matter of understanding how to best work with the body’s rhythms.

  3. […] Exercise as a Solution to Insomnia […]

  4. […] Exercise as a Solution to Insomnia « Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea […]

  5. Random T. said

    This is very up-to-date info. I’ll share it on Delicious.

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