Health Notes: More exercise, better sleep; and heart rate-raising aerobic exercise helps patients improve cognitive function post-concussion

In SNEWS Health Notes, an occasional series, we look at recent research that is pertinent to your business. One recent study says more exercise equals better sleep. According to another, heart rate-raising aerobic exercise could help patients improve cognitive function post-concussion.

In SNEWS Health Notes, an occasional series, we look at recent research that is pertinent to your business and explain it in a way that makes sense. If you have suggestions or comments, let us know by emailing

>>Exercisers sleep better than sedentary people

The SNEWS team notices that on days when we work out harder, it’s easier to fall asleep and the quality of sleep is better. Turns out we aren’t the only ones. We recently came across the results of a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation that found vigorous exercisers took less time to fall asleep than non-exercisers.

Contrary to previous studies released on the topic that suggested exercising before bed causes people to stay up later, it actually doesn’t matter what time of day the exercise is done — only that it’s done.

The results found that exercisers also reported more motivation to accomplish daily tasks than non-exercisers.

>>So what? Nobody wants low-quality or insufficient sleep. Nobody. This is yet another piece of information with which to arm yourself to sell to that reluctant customer. According to this New Yorker story, we’re all just exhausted, leading to study after study to determine why. Turns out exhaustion seems like a result of being sedentary. One way to boost energy is to get better sleep, and to get better sleep customers need to work out more.

>>For the scientifically minded: For a summary of findings, click here.

>>Aerobic exercise helps with post-concussion cognitive function

University of Buffalo School of Medical and Biomechanical Sciences recently released the results of a study that show that controlled, progressive aerobic exercise might help restore a patient’s cognitive function after they’ve sustained a concussion.

In case you haven’t gotten one, or don’t know, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that’s generally not life-threatening but still has serious effects. For example, people who've had concussions can require more mental resources to perform at the same level on cognitive tests than counterparts who did not sustain a brain injury.

The study followed patients post-concussion and found that those who engaged in an aerobic exercise program (which raised their heart rates) had cognitive function return to normal, whereas those who used a stretching program (which did not raise their heart rates) did not improve their cognitive function.

>>So what? Concussions are pretty common, and while some fitness companies have a lock on the medical fitness market, there’s no reason why you can’t use this information to help somebody who may have had a concussion and still suffers from post-concussive effects like memory loss, that disrupts their lives.

>>For the scientifically minded: Find an article about the study here.