We all know that exercise is good for us. It helps to control our weight, promotes strong bones and reduces our risk of chronic disease. But did you know that exercise can help you sleep?
How does exercise promote good sleep?
Studies have shown one of the benefits of regular exercise is better sleep. As well as the health benefits listed above, exercise improves our mood, decreases stress, improves sleep quality and duration, and helps regulate sleep patterns.
But how does exercise improve your sleep, exactly? Well, there seem to be a few ways.
Improves your mood and reduces anxiety
Many people have trouble sleeping due to stress and anxiety. Exercise is a natural mood booster with studies showing that performing regular aerobic exercise decreases overall levels of tension and elevates mood and self-esteem. In fact, just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise can help reduce anxiety. And when your anxiety and tension levels are lower, you’ll find it easier to nod off to sleep.
Leaves you feeling tired
A good workout fatigues your body, making it ready for sleep. Regular exercise will help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
You get a longer sleep
Research has shown that a regular exercise routine can help you sleep longer. Being physically active burns more energy that sitting on the couch and so your body requires more sleep, in order to recover.
You sleep deeper
As well as sleeping longer, exercise helps you sleep deeper. It’s thought that a rise in body temperature during the day, due to exercise, may lead to a drop in body temperature at night, making it easier to experience deeper sleep cycles. The deep sleep cycle helps boost your immune system and improves your overall health and well being.
How much exercise do you need to help you sleep?
For the average person, just 30 minutes of moderate activity per day is enough to promote better sleep. In terms of helping you sleep better, any activity that you can build into a regular routine is great. It’s exercising consistently that counts.
When should I exercise if I want to sleep better?
They say the best time to exercise is whatever time you can get it done!
However, when it comes to sleep, research indicates that it really doesn’t matter what time you exercise — as long as it’s not too close to bedtime. While exercise does reduce stress, the immediate effects of exercise include elevated stress levels, and a rise in body temperature — both of which will interfere with you being able to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Exercise and sleep — the perfect partners
While experts still don’t fully understand sleep, it’s clear that exercise and sleep are the perfect partners. Exercise regularly and you’ll have better sleep. When you sleep better, your body and mind are able to engage in exercise — creating a continuous cycle of health benefits.
If you’ve been having trouble sleeping and regular exercise isn’t a part of your daily schedule, try being more active.
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