Exercise Helps Improve Your Sleep

Updated May 27, 2022

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The Link Between Exercise and Sleep

According to the experts, there is a strong bidirectional between exercise and sleep. It has been proven that exercising during the day can help people get better sleep, and improve sleep efficiency at the same time, poor sleep may lead to a decrease in daily physical activity. A lack of exercise can be part of the cause of sleep issues. This page will explore some of the best exercises for sleep.

Best Exercises For Sleep

The best exercises for sleep are aerobic, resistance, and yoga. These exercises have different benefits and purposes. This section will break these three down for more information and provide the benefits of exercise.

Aerobic Exercise

Also known as cardio, it causes more rapid breathing and a faster heart rate. Over time, this can improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some examples of aerobic exercise include running, swimming, bike rides, and physically demanding or high-intensity sports. Moderate aerobic exercise like jogging or even walking can

Studies show that prolonged periods of aerobic exercise can improve sleep quality and reduce the effects of insomnia. It can also help with breathing conditions like sleep apnea.

Aerobic activity causes the body to release endorphins according to Johns Hopkins University. Endorphins are the chemicals that create activity in the brain that keep some people awake. It is recommended to exercise one to two hours before bed, this gives the endorphin levels time to lower which allows the brain to relax.

Hopkins also notes that vigorous exercise raises your core body temperature. This has a similar effect to a hot shower. When your body heats up you feel awake; however, after 30 to 90 minutes, the core body temperature begins to decline, facilitating sleepiness.

Resistance Exercise

Also known as strength training, focuses on building up muscle strength throughout the body. Experts recommend a mixture of aerobic and resistance exercise. This will help improve different aspects of physiological health. Some resistant exercises include weight lifting, resistance bands, and push-ups or sit-ups.

The most important factor in this type of exercise is repetition. Experts recommend sets of 12 reps for resistance exercises. For beginners, this type of exercise may seem difficult or uncomfortable.

You will also be sore the next day more often when you are starting out. Consider starting slowly with light resistance and fewer sets before gradually increasing your workouts. Like aerobics, strength training can help with mental health and sleep disorders like insomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Yoga

According to experts, this is a type of resistance training that focuses on posture improvement, breathing exercises, and meditation. The biggest benefits of yoga include stress, relief, weight loss, and reduction of back and neck pain. Yoga and sleep have not been evaluated with a large population but it has been shown to help certain groups of people such as the elderly, women with sleep problems, and women with Type 2 diabetes.

Additional Information About Exercise and Sleep

Watch your timing: In the past, experts warned against working out too close to bedtime because it could cause difficulty falling asleep. Recent research; however, claims that a workout before bed will not have a major impact before sleep. Exercise at different times of day to figure out what is best for you.

Improving sleep time will help exercise: Once you start sleeping better you will have more energy. This will make it easier for you to work out in the future. The new boost of energy will make it easier to keep to your schedule.

You don’t need much: If you think you need to put yourself through a long grueling workout every day, you don’t. Just 30 minutes a day can improve your sleep, alleviate stress and fight sleep problems like daytime sleepiness. Keeping your routine for six months will provide the biggest improvement to your well-being.

A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that even the slightest bit of exercise can help. Participants who exercised were one-third less likely to report sleep problems.

Other Benefits of Exercise

  • Controls Weight- Exercise is a great way to fight obesity. The more intense exercise, the more calories you burn. For sleepers that struggle with obstructive sleep apnea because of obesity, losing weight may reduce the need for a CPAP machine. Check with your doctor first.

  • Prevents Health Conditions- Other health benefits of working out include, decreasing the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.

  • Boosts Your Energy- Exercise can make daily life easier. For example, household chores and grocery shopping will be easier.

Conclusion

Aerobic, resistant, and yoga are the three best types of exercise to help with sleep. Mixing up aerobic and resistance will make for the best combination. Experiment to figure out what type of exercise routine and time of day works best for you. Remember that the amount of time you spent working out is not the biggest factor, just doing short workouts of 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week can give you a better quality of life and provide you with quality sleep.

If exercise is not always possible, check out our sleep essentials page for more help with sleep. If you suffer from sleep loss, we can help you with that too. In general, people who maintain a healthy lifestyle sleep better than people with poor dietary and exercise habits. 

About the Author Steven Bieber

Steven Bieber HeadshotSteven is a content writer who recently broke into the mattress industry. In his free time, he enjoys watching football and listening to music.


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