If you’re having trouble getting proper shut-eye at night, you’re certainly not alone.
In fact, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of all American adults don’t get enough sleep.
And while many poor sleepers and those clinically diagnosed with insomnia disorder rely on effective (and oftentimes, expensive) sleeping pills, experts warn against the potential downsides of the drugs.
“Sleeping pills are extremely hazardous,” Arizona State University sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt told CNN. “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.”
But there’s good news for insomniacs — more and more research shows simply exercising can reduce insomnia.
One study conducted by Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron found older women suffering from insomnia saw significant results after exercising, including improved sleep, more energy and less depression, CNN reported.
Exercise is also beneficial for those suffering sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to temporarily stop breathing while they sleep, as well as those suffering with restless-leg syndrome, which causes the legs or other parts of the body to itch, burn or move involuntary, according to CNN.
Sleep deprivation is a serious issue and insufficient sleep has been linked to several chronic conditions and cardiovascular diseases in the past.
A recent study found sleep deprivation may even cause the brain to eat itself.
So if you’re having trouble getting sleep at night, put those pills away and try getting the CDC-recommended two and a half hours of exercise per week.
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