Study objectives: The aim was to assess and to compare the acute effects of three different modalities of physical exercise on sleep pattern of patients with chronic primary insomnia.
Methods: Forty-eight insomnia patients, 38 female (mean age 44.4 +/- 8 y) were randomly assigned to 4 groups: control (CTR, n=12), moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (MAE, n=12), high-intensity aerobic exercise (HAE, n=12), and moderate-intensity resistance exercise (MRE, n=12). The patients were assessed on sleep pattern (by polysomnogram and daily sleep log) and anxiety (STAI) before and after the acute exercise.
Results: The polysomnogram data showed reduction in the sleep onset latency (SOL) (55%) and in the total wake time (TWT) (30%); increase in total sleep time (TST) (18%), and in the sleep efficiency (SE) (13%) in the MAE group. The daily sleep log data showed increase in the TST (26%) and reduction in the SOL (39%). In addition, reduction (15%) in anxiety was also observed after moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
Conclusions: Acute moderate-intensity aerobic exercise appears to reduce pre-sleep anxiety and improve sleep in patients with chronic primary insomnia.