16 March 2022Are you having difficulties sleeping? Recent research suggests that you may be interested in trying a different kind of exercise.

In a head-to head comparison the results of a recent study have shown that resistance exercise improves sleep in people who are not active, particularly those who sleep poorly.

“We believed that resistance training could be within the same vicinity with aerobic exercises, and it might be slightly better. However It was consistently resistance exercise, all on it’s own, that appeared to provide the greatest positive effects across the board,” says Angelique Brellenthin PhD.

Before the pandemic and the bedtime “doom scrolling” was in full swing studies have shown that nearly a third of Americans typically sleep less than 7 nights of rest. It is the American Heart Association recommends aerobic exercise to enhance sleep quality and improve the health of your heart However, there isn’t much information about the impact it has on other types of exercise within our general populace, according to Brellenthin.

Brellenthin and her co-investigator, Duck-chul Lee PhD, both of Iowa State University, recruited 406 people who were not active. They were between the ages of 35 and 70 and 53% were female. All of them were overweight or obese and also had elevated or high blood pressure. They were randomly divided into four groups that included one) no exercise, an) cardiovascular exercise the third group,) resistance exercise or d) the combination of resistance and aerobic exercises. The exercise groups were monitored and completed their workouts for an hour three times each week over the course of a calendar year.

The aerobic group was able to select between treadmills, recumbent or upright bike, or ellipticals and their heart rate recorded to ensure they were getting a moderate or vigorous exercise.

The resistance group completed three sets of 8 to 16 repetitions of 12 resistance machines Leg press, lung pulldown, chest press leg curl, leg extension the triceps stretch, biceps curl shoulder press, abdominal crunch lower back extension torsion of the torso and hip stretchers.

Participants in the combined group performed 30 minutes of vigorous to moderate aerobic exercise. Then they did two sets of 8 up to 16 times of the resistance exercise, using nine machines instead of twelve which took them 30 minutes.

Participants also took an assessment of their sleep at the start and at the end in the research. Of the 386 participants who had information which could have been used to analyze, 35% of them had poor quality sleep, and 42% fell asleep less than 7 hours each night.

At the conclusion in the research, the duration of sleep increased by 13 min for the group that did resistance exercises. Sleep duration decreasing by thirty seconds for the aerobic group, and increased two minutes for the group that combined exercise and increased by four minutes in the no-exercise or no-exercise group.

In the study that had just under seven hours of rest at the start, the duration of sleep increased by 40 mins as compared to an increase of 23 minutes for the aerobic group and 17 minutes in the group that was combined while 15 minutes were observed in the control.

The quality of sleep as well as the frequency of sleep disturbances were improved in all the groups. It could be due to being part of the study which included the month-long lifestyle education classes, according to Brellenthin.

“For the majority of people who feel their sleeping patterns could be better, this may be a good place to start without resorting to medication should they decide to focus on lifestyle changes,” she says.