If you are like many Americans, you have trouble sleeping. At least 108 million people throughout the United States suffer from insomnia. About 20% of all American adults suffer from sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder that can lead to some dangerous medical problems such as heart disease and hypertension. In fact, as a consequence of so many people suffering from this condition, one of the most used kinds of home medical equipment devices are CPAP supplies and equipment.
Before you head off to the medical supply store to buy home medical equipment, there are some other things you can do to get healthy sleep. CNNandnbsp;recently reported on the steps people can take to improve their sleep without using drugs or home medical equipment.
Get More Exercise
Exercise can work wonders when it comes to getting better sleep. According to Kelly Glazer, a clinical psychologist at Rush University, researchers have been looking at the connection between sleep and exercise. People can reduce the insomnia they suffer from when they get more exercise. Glazer said, “In one study I did, for example, older women suffering from insomnia said their sleep improved from poor to good when they exercised. They had more energy and were less depressed.”
A researcher in sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Christopher Kline, has done some work on the impact exercise has on insomnia and other sleep problems. His research focused on people who had clinical diagnoses of insomnia. He said, “The results show exercise improves both self-reported and objective measures of sleep quality, such as what’s measured in a clinical sleep lab.”
Research into sleep problems has shown that exercise is almost as effective at helping people get more and better sleep as sleep medications and some home medical equipment. Where exercise is better than medication is in the area of side effects.
Shawn Youngstedt, from Arizona State University, says that, “Sleeping pills are extremely hazardous. They are as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Not to mention they cause infections, falling and dementia in the elderly, and they lose their effectiveness after a few weeks. It’s less expensive, healthier and just as easy to exercise and there’s an added bonus: Research suggests those who are physically active a have lower risk of developing insomnia in the first place.”
Exercise does people a lot more good than just helping them with insomnia. It can also help with sleep apnea itself. In the first place, when people start exercising, they often lose weight, which can help with sleep apnea. People who have this sleep disorder stop breathing during the night. The periods of time when they are not breathing are called “apneas.” These can last up to a minute and occur often throughout the night. One common cause of this dangerous sleep disorder is being overweight or obese. These conditions have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Some research shows that when people exercise they experience a decrease in the symptoms associated with the sleep disorder by up to 25% over a three month time frame.
Another problem that keeps people up at night is restless leg syndrome. Exercise is a good way to deal with that as well. People who suffer from this syndrome experience itchiness, a burning sensation or have their muscles move on their own. While it is called “restless leg syndrome,” it can affect their arms or face or other parts of the body.
Insomnia can lead to a host of other problems such as heart disease, diabetes, increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure. It can also lead to weight gain, which increased the chances that a person will suffer from sleep apnea. Exercise can help people have better sleep and avoid many of these medical issues. It is also a major factor in warding off depression, which can also be a cause of insomnia.
While many people believe that exercise should be done earlier in the day, the important thing about using it to help with sleep is to get into the habit of being consistent. Other research shows that people who get it done in the morning are more likely to do it more often but whenever you can get to it, you should.