Exercise! - Interesting article - exercise is better then sleep

Aunty Jam
10-06-2010, 03:54 PM
I found this article in the local paper, it talks about how exercise will help you sleep. But at the end of the article one docter encourages people to get up at 5am to exercise if they have no other time, stating that an hour of exercise is better then an hour of sleep.

What do you guys think of this? I've thought about trying it but I am NOT a morning person, in fact, I regularly sleep through an alarm that wakes my step daughter who is in the room across the hall.

Are the any formerly-not-morning-people out there who get up early to exercise now? How hard was it to get used to?

I've attached a link to the article but I'm not sure it will work so I've also copied and pasted the article below.


Life Health

Cardio routine can nurture sweet dreams
By Dorene Internicola, REUTERS

Last Updated: September 28, 2010 10:04am
Email StoryPrintSize A A AReport TypoShare with:
FacebookDiggDel.icio.usGoogleStumble UponNewsvineRedditTechnoratiFeed MeYahooSimpySquidooSpurlBlogmarksNetvouzScuttleSit ejot+ What are these? .
NEW YORK - Sleepless and sedentary? Instead of counting sheep in a field, try running through a meadow.

Experts agree that an aerobic exercise routine during the day can keep you from tossing and turning at night, even if theyíre not sure why.

"The bottom line is we really donít know why people tell us that exercise helps them sleep," said Dr. David Davila of the National Sleep Foundation.

"But if people are normally active, reaching their aerobic goals, chances are they will sleep the right amount for what they need."

Davila, who practices sleep medicine in Little Rock, Arkansas, said the low-grade sleep deprivation suffered by many time-pressed, under-rested Americans has a cumulative effect.

"People have more car accidents and what they call 'presentee-ism', or poor performance, at work," he said. "There are fallouts for the average person."

But evidence is emerging that aerobic exercise can offer relief from insomnia.

A recent study at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois tracked 23 previously sedentary adults, primarily women 55 and older, who had difficulty falling or staying asleep.

After 16 weeks on an aerobics training program that included exercising on a treadmill or stationery bicycle, average sleep quality improved.

"Most of poor sleepers became good sleepers," said Dr. Phyllis Zee, the lead researcher in the study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

She said an earlier study using Tai Chi showed less dramatic results, as did a control group doing non-physical activities such as cooking classes and museum lectures.

"This is the first time that Iím aware of where we've looked at the benefits of aerobic exercise as a treatment modality in a population with insomnia," Zee said.

She added that she sees a lot of patients with insomnia, which afflicts 25 percent of the population and can reach as high as 40 percent in older people.

"We tell them to get regular exercise. But we really donít emphasize how to exercise."

If your schedule dictates that you can only hit the gym at 5 a.m. Dr. Shawn D. Youngstedt, an expert on sleep and exercise at the University of South Carolina, believes that an hour of exercise can do more good than an extra hour of sleep.

"Thereís no scientific evidence that people need eight hours, seven is fine," he said. "It's far clearer that exercise has wonderful benefits. Itís better than drugs for diabetes, mental health, cancer prevention."

Dr. William Roberts, of the American College of Sports Medicine, cautions that for some people the time to exercise is not an hour before bed.

"To exercise close to sleep time is not good for everyone," he explained. "Try to get a half hour to an half hour of exercise early enough in the day and try to sleep on same schedule."

Roberts suggests doing something calming to wind down.

"Do not play video games," he said. "Read away from bed and then go to bed. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants before turning in."

The improved sleepers in Zeeís study also reported better moods, fewer depressive symptoms and enhanced vitality.

ďVitality is everything,Ē Zee said. "It's how somebody feels, how alert. If you think about the complaints of poor health, people will always say, 'I feel so tired."'

10-06-2010, 06:20 PM
Really interesting...thanks for posting it.

10-06-2010, 06:29 PM
Hmm, interesting. I'm actually not a morning person at all, but I turned into one when I started exercising. I actually DO get up at 5 a.m. to have an hour to exercise in the mornings. I don't know if it's better or worse than another hour of sleep. It's just all I can do, and I want it bad enough that I'm willing to be out in the freezing, dark morning and walking the 15 minutes back and forth to the gym because I don't have a car. I call it my warm-up/cool-down time. ;)

It's not easy to become a morning person. I'm like a semi-morning person now. I'm not good at it, but I can do it. Once in a while there are days where I roll over and hit the alarm, look at the 5:00 on the clock and think, "Heck no," and go back to sleep. I usually regret it, because then I missed my chance to work out, but once in a while I need the sleep.

I'm actually getting up at 5 tomorrow morning, too. Yay.

Aunty Jam
10-07-2010, 12:51 PM
Wow... I don't think I could force myself to walk to a gym at that hour, especially not in winter. But winters up here can be really brutal so that's enough to kill anyones motivation.

Do you usually work out every day? Have you found that you have to go to bed earlier in order to get up at that time or is the article right and it doesn't make a big difference? I try to run 3 or 4 times a week, I'm wondering if I would be motivated enough to get up and use the Wii or do something else on non-running days. Or do you just sleep in on days you don't plan to work out?

10-07-2010, 01:17 PM
I AM a ridiculous morning person, so sorry. :sorry: BUT, I can say that 5:00 was still a hard hour for me to wake up. Yes, no matter what hour I wake the moment my feet hit the floor I am ready to go! Getting my feet to hit the floor used to be a problem, however. ;)

Always in the past I would sleep in every chance I got...holidays and especially summer when I was home from school/work. This year, I changed things up. I go to the gym every single day at 5:00 AM no matter what, excluding weekends. I kept it over the summer. It's been seven months now of this routine and I have no problems getting up at all.

Now my best friend is also a teacher and she works out with me. She chose to sleep in over the summer. She's having a miserable time getting back into the routine and is tired all the time.

Aunty Jam
10-12-2010, 12:56 PM
Wow Eliana... No wonder you've lost 75 pounds :)

I decided you guys were right and I just had to want it bad enough. So last night I set my alarm and psyched myself up to get up at 5am, have a quick bite then go for a run. It worked to well, I got almost no sleep last night! I kept waking up and having a really hard time going back to sleep. I would lay in bed for 1/2 hour before I finally dozed off just to wake up again less then an hour later! This went on all night! Around 4am I finally had to say to myself "Fine! Don't get up and run... just sleep!" I reset my alarm for 6:30 and was finally able to sleep undisturbed for a few hours. (sigh) Needless to say I'm bagged today and I have a horrible headache from lack of sleep.

I can't believe I did that to myself. I will try again tonight for a run tomorrow in the AM without so much psych. I just want to crawl under my desk and have a nap but I'm trying not to think about it. It's going to be a long day.

10-12-2010, 01:04 PM
When I first started getting up early I had a sort of weird anxiety about it during the night which had me waking hourly. I think I was afraid I would sleep through my alarm. That gets better. ;) It's a major adjustment!

10-12-2010, 01:37 PM
When I first started getting up early I had a sort of weird anxiety about it during the night which had me waking hourly. I think I was afraid I would sleep through my alarm. That gets better. ;) It's a major adjustment!

Me, too. I am NOT a morning person, but the AM exercise routine is the only one for me. I tried for a couple of weeks moving it to the evenings, but it just got too late, too many excuses got in my way, and then, I had a hard time winding down. Plus, the whole food-thing was hard to manage. I was hungry when I got home from work, but if I ate with my family, was too full to exercise early enough to get a decent night's rest.

Anyway, I detest 5am - heck, I detest 6:30am!! But, I make myself get up early 3-4x/week to get that 40-60 minutes in. On the weekends, I allow myself the extra rest, and workout either in the middle of the day, or a little later since hubby will watch the kiddos.

And I totally believe this article - the more exercise I get, the less tired I am during the day. I feel physically fatigued, but I'm more mentally alert. It is AWESOME. :D

Aunty Jam
10-12-2010, 03:53 PM
Thanks for the insight and help Eliana & Cherylmn.. it's nice to know I'm not alone.

I was really afraid I'd sleep through my alarm too. I'm bad for hitting snooze in my sleep and it's so loud it wakes everyone in the house. I hated the idea of waking everyone up at 5am but I figured they would go back to sleep, I was just really afraid of bothering them. I'm going to have to do something about that alarm if I'm going to get up at 5am.

I'm hoping I'll feel physically tired but mentally ok also since my work outs do that to me in the evening. It's tough with so many other obligations to find time to do this! I'm probably not going to get in a run tonight since I have something else I have to do and by the time I'm done it will likely be to late :(

Ok, so new alarm, calm mind and one more thing... what do you guys eat before you work out? I'm hoping some cereal and yoghurt will be ok, I'm alright eating small things before a work out. I tried once without eating and I could only get half way through. What about water? Do you find being slightly dehydrated in the morning makes it tougher?

10-12-2010, 05:28 PM
I used my Blackberry for my alarm. That way when it goes off, I tuck it under my pillow & enjoy that 1 snooze :D. Bad habit...but at least it doesn't wake up the kids!

As for food/drink, it just really depends. I do not drink before I workout in the AM. Yes, I'm dehydrated from the night before, but for personal reasons you can likely guess, jumping around & liquids are problematic for me (embarassing). As for food, I typically eat 1/2 a banana or 1/2 a protein bar & finish the other 1/2 off when I'm done. That seems to be enough to help me get through. This is as much about not being able to workout on a full stomach as about not having enough time to sit down & eat something. Really, for the AM workouts, every minute counts for me.

I also have all of my clothes, shoes, iPod, weights, DVD, mat, etc. ready to go the night before. No fumbling around to figure out where stuff is. Amazing, that can save a good 10 minutes alone!

You'll find a routine that works for you. I knew a woman who used to SLEEP in her workout clothes so she couldn't back out of it when the alarm went off. :D

10-12-2010, 05:52 PM
I'm not sure that "exercise is better than sleep" is a good way to state the importance of exercise (it makes it sound like sleep isn't important).

If you're not getting enough sleep, or if you have a sleep disorder, depriving yourself further to exercise probably would be counterproductive. I know that's not really the point of the article, but because so many people are sleep deprived, the advice should be "make room for sleep and exercise," rather than "exercise at the expense of sleep."

I think sleep is undervalued in our society. In many fields it's almost a badge of honor to get by on little sleep. I worked two jobs most of my working life and always "burned the candles at both ends," and bragged about my ability to work on little sleep. It caught up with me, though and I think as many of my health problems are sleep deprivation related as weight related.

I have fibromyalgia (among other health issues) and a sleep disorder (I don't spend nearly enough time in the deepest, most restful stages of sleep - this is very common in people with fibro, to the point that some doctors feel it can be a cause of fibro), and for me sleep is my first priority (if I don't sleep well, I'm in agony). Exercise is my second priority (it's hard to exercise during a flare, but the less I move, the more frequent and severe the flares. Exercising regularly keeps flares to a minimum).

Maybe it's splitting hairs, but the message needs to be "make sleep and exercise top priority in your life," not "sacrifice sleep in order to exercise."

10-12-2010, 09:55 PM
I knew a woman who used to SLEEP in her workout clothes so she couldn't back out of it when the alarm went off. :D

I don't know that woman, but she is my new hero.

Aunty Jam
10-13-2010, 01:03 PM
I used my Blackberry for my alarm. That way when it goes off, I tuck it under my pillow & enjoy that 1 snooze :D. Bad habit...but at least it doesn't wake up the kids!

I knew a woman who used to SLEEP in her workout clothes so she couldn't back out of it when the alarm went off. :D

Holy smokes - LoL! I don't think I'd sleep in my work out clothes but they are right by the bed together with my socks. I know myself well enough to do this ahead of time also. Otherwise I'm sure I'd just say "Forget it!"

I use my blackberry also and I changed my alarm last night and slept in this morning :( Bleh! I tried putting it under my pillow on the first night and it ended up in an unreachable spot behind the bed around 3am. I had to get up, find a flashlight and use an extra long bbq fork to get it. I don't think I'll do that again.

Today was/is a run day... tomorrow is a rest day, Friday is a run day. I'm not sure if I'll try again Friday or just start again new on Tuesday. I really want to start with a run day because it's my most intense work out and I think I'll feel the best afterwards and sleep best that night. My thought is that if I can do this a few times I'll get into the habit a bit and be able to get up at 5 for a less intense work out easier.

Kaplods - I think they were talking about normally healthy people in that article. I don't think anyone expects someone with medical needs to do something that would hurt them. I used to skimp on my sleep but over the past few months I've discovered how much better I feel when I don't so I've made it a priority. I've never worried much what society thinks but I agree that it's undervalued. I actually have very mild fibro also (mostly pain issues) and I find it's getting better as I get into better shape :) I haven't had as many problems lately and I think it's because I'm a lot stronger then I used to be. I also have a mild sleep disorder so it's interesting that you bring that up. I sometimes act out my dreams and it disturbs my sleep but it makes for some really funny stories for my husband.

10-13-2010, 04:00 PM
Hi I'm new to the exercise thread (and exercise for that matter) but I was never a morning person; like I almost got kicked out of high school for truancy because I never showed up to my morning classes but something in my head clicked these last few weeks; if I want to lose weight and look good, I need to eat right and exercise and the only time I have to exercise is in the morning (I work full time and I go to school) ipso facto I have to be a morning person and I have some days when I have a burst of energy after a run and then there are days like today, when I woke up at 5:00 AM for my bootcamp and now I can barely stay awake (but I'm hanging in there!) but overall I know this is helping me and it's just the motivation I need to take my tail to bed sooner!

10-14-2010, 03:49 PM
I agree the article is talking about healthy people who probalby won't be obviously affected by a little less sleep, which is why it took so long for me to voice my concerns. However, sleep disorders and fibromyalgia are on the rise, and part of it I firmly believe, is because sleep is so undervalued. We're setting people up for long term problems. I'm not just talking out of my butt either, because there've also been a lot of research lately talking about how the average American isn't getting enough sleep. Encouraging people to sleep less may be irresponsible.

Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation issues don't happen overnight. It's a long, cumulative process. An occasional all-nighter isn't going to be a problem but years of chronic sleep deprivation are. Is an additional hour going to matter to most folks? Well, not in the short term, but if they're already even mildly sleep-deprived that additional hour could be very important.

I don't want to be guilty of overstating the case, because for young, healthy people who are getting adequate sleep this is a non-issue - but because sleep-deprivation is wide spread I think it's important that sleep, exercise, and diet all be top priorities in most folks life.

Good sleep habits are like eating habits. Many people appear to suffer no harm by bad habits - but they catch up to you eventually. The super thin guys who live on McDonalds may not become obese, but that doesn't mean they're healthy - and it doesn't mean that they aren't at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure and other diet-related diseases.

Sleep deprivation is like that too. All the years I lived on five or six hours of sleep (and occasionally less), I didn't feel that I was sacrificing my health. And when I did start having issues, I never associated them with sleep deprivation because I'd gone so many years without symptoms that I didn't associate any of my issues with lack of sleep (because the amount of sleep I was getting wasn't any different from when I didn't have those symptoms).