Some readers may be surprised to find a randomized trial in this issue of JAMA reporting that exercise improves sleep quality in older adults.1 The readers ask, "Didn't we know that already?" It is conventional wisdom that exercise improves sleep quality. If you wish to impress someone that you truly did a hard day's work, you note that you "slept like a baby" afterward, hitting the covers early and falling asleep instantly. Yet 2 examples illustrate how little is known about exercise and sleep quality in older adults. A geriatrics textbook did not include exercise on the list of nonpharmacologic approaches to insomnia that have been investigated.2 The landmark 1996 surgeon general's report on physical activity did not list or discuss improved sleep as a possible health benefit of physical activity.3
Appropriately then, King and colleagues conducted a groundbreaking basic study of the effect of exercise on
Buchner DM. Physical Activity and Quality of Life in Older Adults. JAMA. 1997;277(1):64–66. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540250072035
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