How to sleep and NOT wake up tired

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - How much sleep do you get at night? Do you wake up tired? Or well-rested?

This week was National Sleep Awareness Week and to coincide with that, results of a new study were released that show there's one thing you could be doing to sleep better: exercise!

A new poll from the National Sleep Foundation found exercise is key to a good night's rest. Self-described exercisers reported better sleep than self-described non-exercisers even though they said they slept the same amount each night. Vigorous exercisers were almost twice as likely to report a good night's sleep.

Dr. David Davila is the medical director of the Sleep Center at Baptist Health in Little Rock. He said this new poll re-iterates what many already believed.

"We've suspected that exercise does probably cause a change in the brain waves to some extent," said Dr. Davila, "which in turn causes some hormones to be released that are very good for us."

According to the poll, non-exercisers were the sleepiest and had the highest risk for sleep apnea.

"My wife said I would stop breathing in the middle of the night," said Roger Rowe, who was diagnosed with sleep apnea several years ago. "I was tired when I would wake up in the morning. I was beginning to have trouble driving. Because I would get drowsy. Even being sleepy on the way into work. Which was not a good situation."

Rowe has been using a C-PAP machine while he sleeps at night and now exercises regularly.

"Once I was able to exercise consistently, that helped counter any stress going on, going to sleep or causing me to wake up in the middle of the night. The exercise more than the C-PAP has solved those problems."

Remember that we spring forward Saturday night / Sunday morning, moving those clocks ahead an hour and that means you, unfortunately, will lose an hour of sleep. Dr. Davila recommends planning for that with a nap Sunday afternoon or by getting into bed an hour earlier than you normally do Saturday night.