Gentler Exercise May Help You Sleep Better


Early to Bed and Early to Rise... Benjamin Franklin had it right! An uninterrupted, high-quality night's sleep is key to making one "healthy, wealthy, and wise." The National Sleep Foundation has found that poor sleep is correlated with poor health, higher stress levels, and low life satisfaction. An estimated 70 to 80 million Americans suffer from poor sleep. Most people are aware of the recommendation to get 8 hours of sleep, but fewer people are aware that they need to get high-quality sleep. What is High-quality Sleep? High quality sleep has several different aspects. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you asleep more than 85% of the time you are in bed?

  • Do you fall asleep in 30 minutes or less?

  • Do you wake up not more than once per night?

  • Are you awake for 20 minutes or less once you fall asleep?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, then your sleep quality isn't as good as it could be! How to Improve your Sleep Quality? A recent study by Wang and Boros in the European Journal of Physiotherapy finds that moderate-intensity exercise improves sleep quality in all age groups. Exercises such as walking, Tai Chi, or Pilates improved sleep quality. Even adding as little as 500 extra steps a week was found to improve sleep! Getting Started with Exercise Establishing a regular moderate-intensity exercise program can seem daunting, especially if you are recovering from an injury or surgery. And it can be challenging to sleep well when you are in pain. However, the National Sleep Foundation has found that sleep can be a tool for pain management. A variety of different types of physical therapy can be beneficial to get started exercising. A few sessions working on joint mobilization or trigger point therapy can reduce the pain sufficiently to allow for you to start a regular exercise program. Or you can learn safe and effective exercises in your physical therapy sessions. It is worth finding a therapist skilled in multiple modalities, so a variety of techniques can be used to get you exercising pain-free. And not only does the physical therapy treatment help reduce pain directly, but it also improves pain by improving sleep quality. The doctors at 1 on 1 Physical Therapy in Asheville NC are trained in multiple techniques. They can help design the optimal exercise program for you to improve your sleep.

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