One of the many health issues people with chronic pain may experience is insomnia.
The ironic thing about insomnia and chronic pain is that together they create a vicious cycle. The more you hurt, the less you sleep, and the less you sleep the more you hurt.
The good news is that 30 minutes of moderate walking may significantly improve your sleep quality.
Backed by research
Research presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) shows that “an acute session of moderate aerobic exercise, but not heavy aerobic or moderate strength exercises” can improve the amount and quality of sleep for people with insomnia (without resorting to pharmaceutical sleep-aids).
In this new research, 36 patients, all with primary chronic insomnia, were divided into four groups:
- Moderate aerobic exercise (e.g. walking)
- Intense aerobic exercise (e.g. running)
- Moderate strength exercise (e.g. pilates)
- A control group (no exercise)
Of the above 4 groups, the moderate aerobic exercise group (exercise walking) showed the most sleep improvements:
- 54% reduction in time it takes to fall asleep
- 36% less awake time during the night
- 37% increase in total sleep time
These findings highlight the importance of moderate physical exercise to help treat insomnia.
In general, about 30 percent of adults are thought to have symptoms of insomnia. It is more common among elderly people, women, and those suffering from a pain condition.
This study is especially encouraging because people suffering with chronic pain may have difficulty participating in intense aerobic exercise. It is more likely that they can walk at a moderate pace.