Will exercise help troubled sleepers get a good night's rest?
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Getting that early morning workout may not help you get a better night's rest.
Doctors said a good work out may lead to a good night's sleep for people who do not have trouble sleeping, but for patients diagnosed with insomnia, it may take up to four months of an exercise regimen to see any change in their sleep pattern.
The author of the study, a neurology professor, said it can take up to several months for patients with insomnia to feel the effects of a workout routine because they have a heightened level of brain activity.
She said it takes time to reestablish a more normal level that can facilitate sleep.
Doctor R.V. Ghuge, Medical Director of the Sleep Medicine Institute of Texas, said the correct diagnosis can make all the difference.
"If there are other sleep disorders that are contributing to the presence of insomnia, then it is truly not insomnia, it is something else causing the insomnia," Dr. Ghuge said.
Like sleep apnea for example.
"Those patients get tired when they wake up because they are doing something else with their sleep. Those patients will have difficulty keeping up an exercise program," Dr. Ghuge explained.
This is what the study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered: insomnia affects next day exercise rather than exercise influencing sleep.
So, how do doctors determine what sleep disorder you have? Dr. Ghuge often uses actigraphy which requires patients to wear a watch that monitors rest and activity cycles.
"That helps us understand their sun exposure, artificial light exposure, exercise patterns and what else they are doing in their sleep," he explained.
Dr. Ghuge said consistent exercise can make a difference, but it is important to remember to work out early enough that your adrenaline can wear off and your body temperature has a chance to cool down. He said the sun can affect your sleep, too.
"If you exercise in the late afternoon, the late afternoon sun exposure actually delays sleep onset," Dr. Ghuge said.
The takeaway from this new study? Don't give up on exercising, even if you feel too tired to get out of bed. And, make sure you are properly diagnosed to ensure the best treatment plan.