Boost Your Brain Function and Combat Insomnia with 20 Minutes of Exercise

Boost Your Brain Function After Insomnia with Just 20 Minutes of Exercise

Struggling with sleep after a restless night? You’re not alone. A recent survey by US News & World Report found that over 20% of American adults rarely or never wake up feeling well-rested, with almost half reporting experiencing insomnia in 2023.

However, there’s hope for those feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, especially for New Yorkers living in a city that never sleeps. A new study suggests that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, can significantly improve cognitive performance, regardless of sleep status.

Dr. Joe Costello, co-author of the study from the University of Portsmouth, explained that previous research has shown the benefits of exercise on cognitive performance, even with reduced oxygen levels. However, this study is the first to demonstrate that exercise can improve cognitive performance after both partial and total sleep deprivation.

The study, published in Physiology and Behaviour, involved two experiments with 12 participants each. The first experiment showed that 20 minutes of exercise led to measurable improvements in cognitive functioning after partial sleep deprivation. In the second experiment, despite low oxygen levels, exercise still improved cognitive performance after a night of total sleep deprivation.

The research also found that even after three nights of partial sleep deprivation, moderate-intensity exercise improved cognitive performance across all tasks, suggesting that exercise can benefit individuals regardless of their sleep status.

Co-lead author Dr. Thomas Williams emphasized the potential role of increased cerebral blood flow and oxygenation in explaining why exercise improves cognitive performance. He noted that even in low-oxygen environments, participants were able to perform cognitive tasks better after exercise than at rest in similar conditions.

For those who struggle with sleep, experts recommend not worrying about it. Dr. Reena Mehra, director of sleep-disorders research at the Cleveland Clinic, advised against consciously focusing on falling asleep, as it may hinder the process.

If you’re interested in learning more about the study, you can find the full article here: [insert the published URL here].


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