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  • Dr. David Della Morte Canosci

INSOMNIA: WHAT TO DO?

Updated: Nov 29, 2021


Difficulty falling asleep, difficulty in maintaining sleep or waking up too early can be very annoying and hide the beginning of real insomnia. Can physical activity improve these symptoms?


According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, insomnia is the persistent difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep, which negatively affects the quality and duration of sleep itself. The AASM has also outlined two necessary requirements to identify an insomnia disorder:


  • Sleeping difficulty occurs although all the conditions for sleeping are met;

  • Poor quality and duration of sleep result in daytime sleepiness.

Insomnia is rarely mentioned as a primary pathology. More often, it derives from various psychological or physical pathological conditions, such as anxiety, stress, health problems or, precisely, Long Covid.


Sleep is a natural mechanism that is easily subject to disturbances by organic, psychological or environmental factors. For living organisms, it represents a fundamental moment of pause and regeneration, both physical and mental. During sleep, biological rhythms slow down, the body recovers the expended energy and the brain minimizes its activity, mentally reworking the experiences made in the state of alertness.


According to numerous researches, along with the amount of hours needed, the quality of sleep is also important: a 8-hours sleep with a sleep interrupted by frequent unconscious awakenings (called micro-awakenings) is not enough to guarantee adequate rest.


According to a study carried out by the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (USA), not only does ‘sleeping well’ affect the aforementioned aspects, but it also collaborates enormously in strengthening the body. According to researches, in fact, the immune system works better if the body can count on the canonical 8 hours of rest (or on a good night's rest) without continuous interruptions.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND INSOMNIA


Exercising is helpful to have a deeper and more restful sleep. In fact, physical activity is an essential element for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It has been frequently found that those who practice sports regularly have a better quality of sleep than those who do not practice any activities. In fact, sportsmen tend to have an adequate and satisfying sleep, both in terms of quantity (amount of time) and quality (deep and restorative sleep).


Sometimes, it doesn't take too much: just 30 minutes of physical exercise and 8 hours of sleep help improve mood, concentration and health. But be careful about the time! Exercising in the evening puts the body in activity and therefore ‘wakes it up’.


Doing physical activity also has a positive effect on well-being, self-esteem and self-perception. This positive energy helps deal effectively with anxiety and also improves the relationship with what often ‘keeps us awake at night’.


HOW SPORT FACILITATES SLEEP


It is assumed that physical activity facilitates sleep in three different ways:


  • Body temperature: the temperature of those who train undergoes a rise during physical exercise and then lowers again during the following hours. The drop in temperature occurs very often in the evening, when the time to rest approaches and the need to sleep comes up. It is therefore hypothesized that the changes in temperature of those who train represent an indicative signal of the need to rest for the brain, comparable to the one that triggers evening sleepiness.


  • Endorphins: insomnia is often a disorder related to the presence of conditions such as anxiety, worry, stress and depression. According to some studies, physical activity would be able to mitigate these conditions through the release of endorphins, acting indirectly on insomnia.


  • Circadian rhythm: insomnia is also due to alterations in the biological rhythms that regulate the sleep-wake cycle (the so-called Circadian Rhythm). According to some researches, exercising in the early hours of the morning has the ability to promote the normalization of the Circadian Rhythm, counteracting the phenomenon of insomnia.


 

To improve the quality of sleep, Palazzo Fiuggi offers a complete service that aims to solve the problem facing all of its aspects:

  1. Specialist medical examination to assess the quality of sleep;

  2. Polysomnographic examination, in which the electroencephalogram is performed during the falling asleep-phases, for a fine evaluation of the neural mechanisms;

  3. Dedicated wearables (Niraxx bandages and helmets) to empower cognitive functions, attention and the balance of one's mental state;

  4. SPA wave: through binaural acoustics and dynamic stimulation the body is brought into a deep state of relaxation;

  5. Exclusive herbal teas by Palazzo Fiuggi, the result of the ancient recipes of Benedictine monks, together with supplements aimed at psychophysical relaxation.


The person is considered in their entirety and accompanied to find the best psychophysical balance to achieve the best possible quality of sleep and a consequent enhancement of the cognitive functions during wakefulness. Healing and taking care of one’s sleep state is the best way to be efficient in the daily life.


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