Fight daytime sleepiness with exercise

Do you have trouble staying awake during the day? You may be surprised to learn that reaching for that cup of coffee may not be the only way to stay alert throughout the day. Studies have shown that regular exercise can be an effective way to fight daytime fatigue for everyone from young to old.

The hidden culprits

Some of the underlying causes of sleepiness and fatigue during the daytime include obesity, diabetes and depression. Daily exercise can help combat these common problems:

  • Obesity–Physical activity is vital to the success of most effective weight loss programs.
  • Diabetes–Working out can help people with diabetes with their blood sugar control. It is important, however, that those with diabetes carefully track blood sugar before, during and after exercise until they know how their body will respond to activity.
  • Depression–Exercise releases feel-good chemicals into the brain, including neurotransmitters and endorphins. It also raises body temperature, which may have a calming effect.

Trouble sleeping

Regular exercise can create some improvement for those struggling with sleep problems. One common cause of poor sleep is obstructive sleep apnea, which is often caused by excess weight. As regular exercise lowers weight, symptoms of sleep apnea may improve. For individuals with insomnia, there is evidence that an exercise routine can help regular sleep return, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Speak with your doctor

Before beginning any new exercise routine, your first step should always be to speak with your doctor. Together you can decide what activities are safe for your health.

How well does your child sleep?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 70 percent of children ages 10 and younger have problems sleeping. Sleep disorders affecting children include:

  • bedwetting
  • insomnia
  • night terrors

Children who have learning, attention or behavior problems may suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness. Researchers studied 508 children and found that children whose parents reported excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)–despite little indication of short sleep from traditional measurements–were more likely to experience learning, attention/hyperactivity and other problems than children without EDS.

Cognitive and behavioral functioning as a result of EDS can have a serious impact on a child’s development.

When children are referred for neurobehavioral problems, they should be assessed for potential risk factors for EDS. Recognizing and treating EDS can offer new strategies to address some of the most common neurobehavioral challenges in young school-age children.

Parents and educators are good resources for determining whether a child seems excessively sleepy in the daytime–and the problem should be taken seriously.

A better night’s rest

To learn more about sleep testing at Baptist Beaumont Hospital, visit www.bhset.net/SleepTest or call (409) 212-6136

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