Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Mattress Journal0
National Sleep Awareness Week 2013 Focuses on Exercise
National Sleep Foundation hosts an annual week-long campaign to educate individuals on the importance of sleep, National Sleep Awareness Week, which spans from March 3 up until March 10th this year. The purpose of the week is to bring national attention to the importance of sleep in our chronically-tired society.
Purpose of National Sleep Awareness Week
Through National Sleep Awareness Week, NSF aims to educate individuals, healthcare professionals, business and government on the importance of a good night sleep. Sleep is important for every single person. Long-term lack of sleep can affect the following just to name a few:
- Heart disease
- Concentration/Mental Health
- Stress Management
National Sleep Awareness Week Finds Benefit in Exercise
The week kicks off with the release of the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America© poll, which was released on Monday. This year, the poll serves the public by looking at the pivotal relationship between sleep, exercise and health.
The National Sleep Foundation, also found that exercise is essential to good sleeping habits. Individuals who take part in a moderate amount of exercise reported better sleep, less symptoms of insomnia, and lower risk for sleep apnea . Over 72% of vigorous exercisers claim they never experienced symptoms commonly associated with insomnia. These symptoms can include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty falling back to sleep, if one wakes up in the middle of the night. 69% claimed they never had any difficulty falling asleep.
However, individuals who are inactive, or do not exercise or take part in regular walks or things of that nature, have a higher tendency to suffer from symptoms that are indicative of insomnia. Over 50% of these individuals claimed they had a tendency to wake up in the middle the night. And 24% claimed that they had difficulty falling back to sleep afterwards.
The National Sleep Awareness Week survey offers a detailed look at the patterns of sleep and exercise, concluding that the more a person exercises, the more likely they are to have better sleep. Even moderate activity showed improvement, so putting in even 10-15 minutes a day could make a big difference. Read more about sleep and exercise in the full study.
More Recent Sleep News
Sleeping Patterns and Health
Sleeping patterns are essential to keeping a healthy lifestyle, it has been shown that poor sleeping habits may in fact, affect your genes. A British study from the University of Surrey recently conducted, suggest that a lack of sleep could increase the risk of developing several serious diseases, especially those related to inflammation and the immune system. The study indicated that sleep of less then 6 hours per night over two weeks changed activity of over 700 genes and actual body chemistry.
Cell building and cell repairing proteins act as puppets, while your genes become the puppeteers that control the production process. The study notes that when those cells become sleep deprived, they can either overproduce or under produce which causes significant changes in the cellular balance of your blood. Because your blood affects the overall health of your body and brain, those significant changes can increase the risk of disease in an individual.
Lack of Sleep & Calorie Consumption
The sleep patterns of individuals also affects calorie intake. A recent study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania showed that individuals with short sleeping patterns consumed more calories than those who slept the standard amount of time. Below are the four different types of sleep patterns.
- Very short – less than five hours in a 24-hour period
- Short – five and six hours a night
- Standard – 7 to 8 hours per night
- Long –more than nine hours per night
Short sleepers logged the highest calorie consumption, while long sleepers consumed the least. Individuals with a very short sleep cycle consumed less tap water, carbohydrates, and the antioxidant lycopene (in orange and red vegetables like tomatoes). Short sleepers were found to have less vitamin C and selenium. Long sleepers were associated with lower theobromine intake, lower carbohydrate diets, and higher alcohol consumption. Standard sleepers were found to have the most balanced diets.
Sleep Better All Year Long
So, what can you do to improve your sleep? According to recent surveys and sleep experts:
- Exercise. More vigorous exercise shows higher benefit, but even light activity offers improvements over none.
- Sleep 7-8 hours every night.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in healthy carbs, lean proteins, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid alcohol and stimulants, especially close to bed time.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible at night.
- Use your bed only for sleep – no laptops or TV.
- Make sure your mattress is in good condition and not causing aches and pains.
- Develop a de-stress routine to clear your mind before bed.
In conclusion, a few simple changes to your day can play a big role in sleeping better and living better. Things like taking a 10 minute walk during the day, spending less time in a sitting position, and eating a more varied diet can also aid in the process. These are two things we all know play in to overall health, but may not realize how much affect activity and food has on sleep. Use these tips from National Sleep Awareness Week and other research to start sleeping better this week!