Run … away from insomnia

Run … away from insomnia

Tossing and turning. Watching the clock with dread as another minute ticks by. Feeling helpless thinking about how tired you will be the next day.

Insomnia is a burden carried by about 30% of adults in the United States. That’s nearly one-third of the country operating at a sleep deficit.

Of course, insomnia can cause a wide range of serious health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, heart attack, stroke and hypertension. Insomnia can also hinder one’s ability to learn, focus and adapt.

While a one-size-fits-all solution for insomnia has yet to be discovered, researchers continue to find ways to help those who are sleep-challenged.

Based on evidence in a new study, scientists say exercise — specifically, consistency of exercise over time — may be one of the best treatments for insomnia. The study, based out of Reykjavík University in Iceland, looked at exercise and sleep data for more than 4,300 adults over a 10-year period.

Study participants ages 39 to 67 who were consistently active were 55% more likely to be deemed normal sleepers — which means getting between six and nine hours of sleep each night. Participants who became active during the study were 21% more likely to be normal sleepers. The study adjusted for certain factors like age, sex, body mass index and smoking history.

Experts say you don’t have to become a fitness guru. Any amount of exercise is helpful, even if it’s a quick walk around the block. The important thing is just to start. And once you’ve started, stick with it.

If you’ve given up on counting sheep and are looking for a healthy, natural way to improve your sleep routine — get active.

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