By Dr. Warren Willey
Columnist for the Journal
The importance of sleep to health cannot be emphasized strongly enough. The importance of those wonderful people who care for us, our households and our children – at one point in my life, my magnificent mother, and now my super-fantastic wife – also cannot be stressed enough.
Physical activity has been well established in the medical literature as being associated with healthy sleep, but certain types of physical activity may be more beneficial than others. Using data on sleep and physical activities from 429,110 adults in a 2013 behavioral risk factor surveillance system, Penn State researchers measured the difference of sleep quality and quantity after a number of different activities (self-reported).
Compared to those who reported they had done no physical activity in the past month, all types of activity including walking, biking, gardening, weight lifting, yoga/Pilates, and golf led to improved sleep. All types of activity except housework and childcare.Â
Itâ€™s been documented now, and reiterated in this study, that home and work demands are some of the main reasons people lose sleep. It seems that the activity we require of our amazing household and childcare providers is not an activity thatâ€™s beneficial to sleep. Of all the people who, in my experience, need sleep due to their activities, they are the ones not getting it! These people whose physical, mental, and emotional demands far outweigh a lot of our daily duties, lack sleep because of their daily activities.
I would encourage everyone who reaps the benefits of someone caring for them, their home, and their children (and who also happens to like sleep), to give that person in their life an opportunity to participate in one of the other physical activities mentioned above. At the very least, we can hope it will result in a much-needed respite for those so richly-deserving people in our lives.
Dr. Warren Willey is the Medical Director of a hormone management and medical weight loss center in Southeast Idaho. A widely-published author and speaker, Willey is a Board Certified Osteopathic Physician and did his postgraduate training at The Mayo Clinic. For more on his work and background, visit http://drwilley.com.