I remind people all the time, the easiest way to improve the quality of your sleep is physical exercise. But what type, how much etc. are all questions that need some better answers. This past week the journal of the Sleep Research Society (Sleep) published a study looking at how exercise impacts sleep in middle age and older adults (yup, that’s now me!). Here is what we learned. Physical activity across an entire day that falls into the 500-1500 MET is best for sleep.
What is a MET? I am glad you asked: It stands for Metabolic Equivalent. Every type of physical activity has a MET, which is a measure of how much energy it takes to complete. The MET is based on how many milliliters of oxygen a person consumes per kilogram of body weight while doing any specific activity. One MET is roughly equal to the amount of energy it takes to sit still. You can find the MET of over 800 different activities in The Compendium of Physical Activities, a resource provided by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
As an example, sitting and reading this article equals 1 MET, stationary bike riding is 7 METS/ Min so you use 7x the amount of oxygen when riding a bike as you do sitting and reading.
When you are awake and moving it will be more METS. Let’s say you walk a total of 2 hours a day (about 2 METS/Min for a total of 240 METS) and ride your bike for 60 min (7 METS), you will use 420 METS, for a total of 660 METS and better sleep.
So what is the moral of the story here? Consume more oxygen through aerobic exercise and you will sleep better.
Sleep effects on extreme PMS
I was reading an article in a different area and discovered how sleep can have a positive effect on PDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). PDD is a type of premenstrual syndrome, but far more intense. While there are medications that can help treat it, sleep turns out to be very good for help with PDD. Here is the list of sleep guidelines for PDD from Medical News Today:
- go to bed the same time each night and get up at the same time each day
- aim to sleep for 7 to 9 hours a night
- avoid prolonged daytime naps
- do not have caffeine or high-sugar foods and drinks in the hours before bed
- limit alcohol intake, especially close to bedtime
- turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before bedtime
- ensure bedroom temperatures are between 60-67°F (You may consider using a Chilipad)
- take a warm bath, listen to relaxing music, or read a book before bed
Well, that’s it for this week, I hope your week is delightful and full of great sleep!
My most liked Facebook post this week was about music and sleep, take a look. If you haven’t like my page yet, give it a like while you are there.
Dr. Michael Breus