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In fact, in a study on sleep patterns of adults aged 55 to 75 who were sedentary and troubled by insomnia, exercise was shown to play a key role. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine asked these adults to exercise 20 to 30 minutes every other day in the afternoon by walking, engaging in low-impact aerobics, and riding a stationary bicycle. The result? Time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and total sleep time increased by almost one hour.
What’s more, exercise offers many other mental benefits:
Reduces stress by helping to dissipate the lactic acid that accumulates in your blood
Sharpens your brain by increasing the amount of oxygen available
Eases built-up muscular tension
Strengthens and stimulates your heart and lungs
Stimulates your nervous system
Increases your production of endorphins— those little substances which create a sense of well-being and increase your body's resistance to pain
Stimulates release of epinephrine, a hormone that creates a sense of happiness and excitement
Increases deep sleep, as the brain compensates for physical stress
Shakespeare didn’t know about sleep studies when he wrote about "sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care," but it seems he did know one thing—there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep!
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