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Sun Nov 23 16:35:23 SAST 2014

Even a light workout may benefit sleep

AFP Relaxnews | 05 March, 2013 09:15

Image by: ©Gastón M. Charles/shutterstock.com

If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, a new study suggests that workouts throughout the week could do the trick. In a poll, participants who said they exercise, even lightly, reported better sleep than their inactive counterparts.

Announced Monday, the US-based National Sleep Foundation released data from its recent poll of 1 000 adults. Among those who exercised during the week, up to 67% reported that they had "a good night's sleep" almost every night on week nights.

By contrast, just 39% of those who didn't exercise at all reported sleeping well on week nights. In addition, only eight percent of people who exercised vigorously said they had difficulty falling asleep almost every night, compared to 24% of non-exercisers.

Another key to better sleep is to get up from your chair, the poll revealed. About 22 to 25% of those surveyed who sat for less than eight hours a day reported that they typically had "very good" sleep, compared to just 12 to 15% of people who sat for more than eight hours.

However, the poll only found an association and doesn't prove a cause and effect. LiveScience adds that people who exercise also tend to have routines, such as going to bed and waking up at similar times every day, which can also aid sleep.

While health experts have advised not to exercise too close to bedtime, the National Sleep Foundation has changed its recommendation based on the research -- exercising any time of day, unless you're exercising at the expense of sleep, is beneficial to getting your zzzs.

Click here to learn more and access tips on improving sleep.

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