Study Shows Link Between Exercise and Sleep

 - March 18, 2013, 12:05 PM

International flight crews share a never-ending need for a good night’s rest. Now there’s a proven link between exercise in moderation and sleep quality. A new report from the National Sleep Foundation studied 1,000 adults between ages 23 and 60 and found that those who exercised in the seven days before the survey reported better quality of sleep than those who did not. Surprisingly, both groups averaged about the same number of hours of total rest–just short of seven.

“Vigorous, moderate and light exercisers are significantly more likely than non-exercisers to say, ‘I had a good night’s sleep’ every night or almost every night on work nights: 67 percent to 56 percent versus 39 percent,” the study reported. “Also, more than three quarters of exercisers [76 percent to 83 percent] say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the past two weeks, compared to slightly more than one half of non-exercisers.”

Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., and the poll’s task force chair said, “If you are inactive, adding a 10-minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep. Making this small change and gradually working your way up to more intense activities, like running or swimming, could help you sleep better.”

Meanwhile, French news magazine Le Point has reported that the captain of Air France 447, Marc Dubois, was flying on just one hour’s sleep when the A330 departed Rio de Janiero, Brazil, for Paris on May 31, 2009. The flight later crashed into the South Atlantic with the loss of all 228 people aboard, when the pilots lost control of the aircraft. Le Point’s story last week revealed previously unheard portions of the jet’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) in which Dubois, less than two hours after departure from Rio, tells his two copilots, “I didn’t sleep enough last night. One hour; it’s not enough.” Other sources claim the two copilots were also short on sleep before the flight began. The report suggests that this part of the CVR transcript was not publicly disclosed, but it does not include any official response from France’s Bureau d’Enquetes Accidents accident investigation bureau.