Survey studies have shown that regular physical activity is consistently associated with better sleep. Physical activity helps to relax the body, improve emotions, health, and sleep. Researchers have acknowledged that physical exercise is the daytime behavior significantly associated with better sleep quality and quantity.
According to some researchers, the relationship between sleep and exercise is reciprocal. For instance, to achieve a good night’s sleep, an individual engages in physical exercise. And on the other hand, a person who has a better sleep quality engages in higher amounts of physical activity.
How Does Exercise Affect Sleep?
1. Fall asleep faster
After you engage in physical exercises, you are more likely to find that you are physically tired. Your tired body will make you fall asleep faster because your body wants to restore the energy spent while exercising.
2. Deeper Sleep
After physical exertion, you are also more likely to spend more time in deep sleep as your body recuperates. Deep sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep, is the stage of sleep where your body releases the human growth hormone and repairs itself.
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3. Sleep Longer
The amount of energy expended as you exercise is directly related to the amount of time your body may need to sleep. The reason for this is that your body needs more time to recuperate. Therefore, you are more likely to sleep for long periods.
4. Stress reliever
Usually, anxiety or stress makes you feel restless and unable to fall asleep at night. All the more reason to find some time to exercise during the day, as physical exertion goes a long way to ease anxiety. Here’s how:
- As you exercise, your body releases happy hormones known as endorphins.
- Endorphins, in turn, decrease the release of hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and you begin to feel less stressed or anxious.
- Endorphins released into your body will also improve your overall mood.
- As a result, you can fall asleep faster and have a better night’s sleep.
5. Contributes to a structured sleep schedule
A good exercise routine on your part will contribute towards you having a sleeping pattern that is more structured. The exercise or physical exertion that you subject your body to in the course of the day will wear your body out enough for you to fall asleep in good time.
How Does Exercising At Night Affect Sleep?
Low-intensity exercises in the evening can help you fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep. Experts, however, advise against high-intensity or vigorous workouts at least an hour before going to bed as it will take you longer to fall asleep and lead to poor sleep quality.
Your core body temperature usually increases as you exercise. As your temperature drops, you feel sleepy. Hence, for a good night’s rest, let your body cool off. If possible, aim to complete your exercises 90 minutes before your bedtime.
Some choose to invest in a cooling mattress. Cooling mattresses draw away heat from your body and effectively decrease your body temperature. This feature thus provides you with a relaxing way to fall asleep.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
No one person is alike, and what works for you may not work for someone else. Exercise is highly dependent on an individual, be it an adult or a child. The American Heart Association recommendation for adults is 150 minutes per week of intensive aerobic, which translates to approximately 21 minutes daily for seven days. Therefore, it would be wise to try working out at different times of the day and monitor your sleep pattern to determine what works best for you.