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How Does Exercise Affect Your Sleep?

August 29, 2013

man in a group about to exercise

Working out­ especially cardio­ improves the length and quality of your sleep. Yes, getting sweaty during the day can help your slumber that evening….just be sure to take a bath or shower before crawling under the covers!

In the National Sleep Foundation 2013 Sleep in America Poll, up to 83 percent of exercisers reported getting fairly good or very good sleep, while only 56 percent of non-exercisers did.

A study out of Appalachian state showed that if you exercised in the morning (7AM), you had increased sleep efficiency over those who exercised at 11AM. However, regardless of the time you exercise, you will sleep better than if you didn’t.

A recent Finnish study showed that even if you ride a stationary bike for 3 hours right before bed, even though your heart would be accelerated, you would go to sleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Another recent Sleep Medicine study showed that exercising 4 times per week can increase sleep time over an hour per night.

Another study showed that moderate exercise in the older population with a sedentary lifestyle significantly improved sleep quality. Yet another showed the same with our teenagers.

Research by Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University found that aerobic exercise resulted in the most dramatic improvement in patients’ reported quality of sleep, including sleep duration, on middle-aged and older adults with a diagnosis of insomnia.

How does exercise help you sleep better? Exercise releases endorphins that can boost mood and reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.

Whether you visit the gym, use a home elliptical, or just go for a walk and walk the dog, exercise can help you clear your mind, reduce the stress in your life, and get a better night’s sleep.

Oh, and no, tossing and turning all night is not considered to be an acceptable form of exercise.

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