The Science Behind Exercise And Sleep

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  • June 9, 2014
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Exercise and Sleep

Truth be told, tossing and turning in your sleep isn’t considered exercise. However studies show that if you make time for a real workout each day, you could sleep better at night. But, it takes patience. Consistent exercising leads to improved sleep over time, not right away.

Lack Of Sleep — Why It Matters

Regular exercise can lower stress levels as well as anxiety, lower your risk of several diseases, and in general, makes us happier and healthier. Daily exercise may also improve your sleep quality. As you may know, sleeping better (roughly 7 hours a night at least) can increase productivity, your mood, and your health overall. Exercising daily should give you a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to shower before hitting the sack though.

There are lots of proven ways that can improve your sleep habits, but researchers are continuing to explore sleep and exercise, the relationship between them. Scientists studied the effects of exercise upon sedentary men and women that were in their 60’s and that were diagnosed with insomnia, in one study. The participants were involved in a 16 week course, an exercise intervention, and found they not only awoke less often but they also slept longer than the members who did no exercising. However, those results only began after the exercise intervention was done, not during the 16 weeks. Another finding was that volunteers who had slept poorly had significantly shorter workouts the following day.

Though there has been a little more optimistic results found in other research. For instance, some studies have shown that when a person diagnosed with insomnia adds some daily moderate exercising routines, they end up with less anxiety and sleep better at night. Another study suggests teenage athletes were more alert and exhibited better sleep patterns than those of their peers who didn’t exercise so often. On the other end of aging and activity levels, studies suggest that moderate exercise had helped improve sleep habits of the normally sedentary seniors. Turn off the television and join the gym, seniors!

Time To Get Moving! — The Answer/Debate

The relationship that is between sleep quality and exercise is still dependent upon factors such as exercise intensity as well as the time of day of when you have your workout. One study suggests that those who exercise in the afternoon had fewer sleep disruptions compared to those who workout in the morning. While some researchers seem to think that a moderate level of exercise can improve your sleep quality, as long as it’s at least 6 hours before it’s time for bed. The jury is still out about exercising at night, however the general consensus is that you are best to avoid exercising only a couple hours before you go to bed.

It takes time adjusting to new workout routines just as it will take time to see big changes to your sleep patterns. But there is enough evidence to suggest that it is worth the commitment to a more active lifestyle. Getting a real good night’s sleep is an awesome reward.

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