The Pilates Exercises That Improve Sleep
We already know that exercise is good for our sleep — but getting enough fitness into our lives can be a challenge.
If you find it too difficult to exercise due to other health concerns or a perceived lack of skill, or you can’t settle on a workout routine that is appealing or interesting enough to stick with, Pilates may be a good option.
Pilates mat classes are a great form of exercise since they do not require expensive equipment. Sessions range in difficulty from highly accessible beginner programs to advanced routines that can challenge even the most experienced practitioners!
A 2014 study set out to determine whether a Pilates program increases sleep duration and reduces the amount of time needed to fall asleep. The study involved 99 individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 years who were sedentary or undertook fewer than 30 minutes of leisure physical activity per day, enjoyed good overall health, and were not using sleep medications.
Half of the participants were allocated to a Pilates group and half to a control group. Individuals in the Pilates group underwent a program of 15 Pilates exercises twice a week, for one hour, for a total of 12 weeks. Sleep quality was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire and hip-worn accelerometers.
How Pilates affected sleep quality and duration
The average PSQI score for participants in the Pilates group before the intervention was 5.14. By the end of the study, the average score was 3.48. (A score of five or greater indicates poor sleep quality; below five, good sleep quality.) Furthermore, average time taken to fall asleep fell from 29.3 minutes to just 18.2 minutes, and sleep duration increased by 39 minutes.
The Pilates exercises that improved sleep
The specific exercises* used in the study were:
. Back lift
. Double leg stretch
. Half roll up
. Knee twist
. Leg stretch stance
. One leg tip
. Side flex
. Single leg stretch
. Spine stretch
. Stretching dog
. Tandem stance
. Side leg
Each exercise was repeated 10 times before moving to the next exercise.