Does Exercise Make it Easier or Harder to Sleep?
A question that often comes up among people who are keen on sports, exercise and physical activity is whether partaking in these activities will make it harder or easier to sleep.
Largely, you will find that sleeping is better when you are regularly staying active, but there are times when it can make it slightly more difficult to drift off.
However, while there have been some studies to associate exercise and insomnia, in this article we’re going to look at how, on the whole, exercise really is a super thing to have in your life that will see you gain restful, quality slumber as part of a healthy lifestyle.
How does exercise influence your sleep?
If you include exercise in your life, your quality of sleep typically improves. It’s thanks to being physically active that you will experience more time in deep sleep, which is the time when your body is at its most restorative in terms of the phases of sleep.
By enjoying deep sleep, your immune system is in line for a welcome boost, your heart health improves and anxiety and stress can be minimised or kept out of your life completely.
Obviously, when you are physically active you need to use energy stores. Once you’ve exercised you’ll probably feel higher levels of tiredness (understandably) which make resting far easier. Studies point to the fact that consistent exercise can aid in boosting your sleep duration, as well as your quality of sleep too. So, it’s a no-brainer that to include exercise in your life, right?
What’s more, there’s the reduction in stress and anxiety alleviation. Stress is a well-known issue that brings about issues with sleep. These problems can include;
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Low-quality, restless sleep during the night
Exercise is recognised as an effective tool to overcome anxiety too. Did you know that you only need to complete five minutes of exercise to trigger anxiety-removing responses in your body?
If you’re looking for an activity that can help you tackle anxiety and stress-related issues, then look to complete some stretches and/or yoga. Research shows that these mind-body-related exercises can lower blood pressure and reduce your body’s cortisol levels, not to mention improvements in mood.
Can exercise help you overcome insomnia and other issues with sleep?
There’s plenty of scientific proof that leads us to the fact that exercise can, in fact, be an awfully positive natural therapy for people who are dealing with insomnia.
Admittedly, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to establishing the relationship between physical activity and sleep – in particular overcoming insomnia and other sleep problems – but, it’s possible to find plenty of research that would suggest sleep disorders can be beaten by having exercise in your life.
The Sleep Advisor are among a multitude of those who know a thing or two about sleep, suggests that the benefits of exercise are generally enjoyed over time, as opposed to being an immediate response.
What is the correct amount of exercise to experience good sleep?
No one can offer a definitive, absolute concrete answer to this topic at present and this is predominately down to the fact that every person is different and we all have a diverse range of needs, including amounts of exercise for quality sleep.
Having said that, evidence provided by the American Heart Association as well as the National Institutes of Health lean towards a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise each week for healthy adults as a recommendation to go by. You can break that down to just 30 minutes of exercise a day, for five of your seven days in every week.
Touching on exercise and not sleeping well again, it is worth mentioning that if you are including too much exercise in your weekly routine, it can create issues with your sleep.
When you’re really into staying fit and healthy, you can forget to consider the implications that over-training and generally overdoing it can be a common problem and might lead you to suffer difficulties with your sleep.
As a matter of fact, you can spot initial signs of over-doing it with the physical activity if you begin to notice that you’re enduring bouts of insomnia and general difficulty sleeping, research suggests.
Therefore, it’s essential that you take note of how intense your levels of exercise are in terms of the quantity, or you risk suffering not only lack of sleep but injury and fatigue too.
As we’ve shown above, if you use exercise and sleep properly, they can be wonderful additions to a successful, healthy-living lifestyle, it’s simply a case of finding the right balance and nurturing things when you know they’re working for you.