CHICAGO, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say aerobic exercise not only boosts cardiovascular fitness but improves sleep and mood in people who suffer from insomnia.
Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine say middle-age and older adults with an insomnia diagnosis who did aerobic exercise found dramatic improvement in quality and duration of sleep.
The study, scheduled to be published in the October issue of Sleep Medicine, linked aerobic exercise in participants reporting better sleep quality -- elevating them from a diagnosis of poor sleeper to good sleeper. The study participants who exercised reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality and less daytime sleepiness.
"This is relevant to a huge portion of the population," senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee says in a statement. "Insomnia increases with age. Around middle age, sleep begins to change dramatically. It is essential that we identify behavioral ways to improve sleep."
Zee and colleagues examined 23 sedentary adults, primarily women, age 55 and older who had difficulty falling sleep and/or staying asleep and reported impaired daytime functioning. They were randomly assigned to engage in a non-physical activity such as a cooking class or museum lecture, or to undergo a conditioning period and aerobic physical activity.