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Exercise as an alternative treatment for chronic insomnia (PEDro synthesis)
  1. Stephen Milne1,2,
  2. Mark R Elkins2,3
  1. 1Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Centre for Evidence-Based Physiotherapy, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Mark R Elkins, Centre for Education & Workforce Development, Building 301, Rozelle, NSW, 2039, Australia; mark.elkins{at}

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This section features a recent systematic review that is indexed on PEDro, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database ( PEDro is a free, web-based database of evidence relevant to physiotherapy

▸ Yang PY, Ho KH, Chen HC, et al. Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review. J Physiother 2012;58:157–63.


Insomnia is characterised by difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, waking too early and daytime impairment in function.1 Its prevalence ranges from 10% to 40%.2 Various medications are used to treat insomnia, but side effects are common.3 Non-pharmacological interventions with some efficacy include sleep hygiene advice (eg, set a regular bedtime, limit alcohol and caffeine, and increase daylight exposure), cognitive–behavioural therapy and exercise.2 Recent randomised trials have added to the evidence about the effects of exercise on sleep since previous systematic reviews were conducted.


This systematic review aimed to determine whether an aerobic or resistance training programme improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems.

Searches and inclusion criteria

PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, CENTRAL and CEPS were searched for items that included terms for insomnia, …

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  • Contributors SM and MRE selected the systematic review. MRE wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SM and MRE contributed to interpretation of the data and revision of drafts, approved the final manuscript and are guarantors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.