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Four ways exercise may affect your sleep


We all know the pain of getting up early after a sleepless night, but the key to changing all that could be exercise rather than more rest. A study of over 2,000 people published by the National Sleep Foundation found that just 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week improved 65% of people’s quality of sleep. So how can working out make a difference to your sleeping patterns?

You sleep for longer periods

The more active you are during the day, the more energy your body is required to expend. If you combine this with being conscious about what you are putting into your body, by the end of the day, you should begin to feel tired and ready to relax in bed. This is especially true if you make exercise part of your regular daily schedule, as the consistency will help your body get into a routine.

Stress levels drop, so it’s easier to sleep

When you are in a good frame of mind, it is far easier to fall asleep and even a small amount of daily exercise can help you deal with the little stresses in life. Anxiety is one of the key factors in broken sleep, but you can help remedy that with working out. As we begin to push our body, chemicals known as endorphins are released which create a feeling of positivity.

By creating regular releases of endorphins, your stress levels are calmed, and you’ll find it easier to nod off. As well as this, when we are working out, our body temperature rises and when it drops back to its normal temperature, this can cause feelings of drowsiness, which will help you doze off.

Your quality of sleep can be improved

When sleep is peaceful and sound, you are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to get out of bed, rather than hitting the snooze button. The timing of your exercise may matter more than you think, if you exercise too close to bed, your body and brain may be too stimulated meaning that you might struggle to drop off.

Why not work out a couple of hours before bed and then spend the remaining time getting ready and relaxed for bed, if you have the chance? Have a warm bath, read a book, turn off electronic devices and get into bed with a hot drink – having a full routine is a great way of setting up a good sleep.  

Daytime sleepiness is minimised

Feeling sleepy during the day can lead to naps, which in turn have a negative effect on nighttime sleep routines. According to research presented by the National Sleep Foundation, it is clear that being active during the day reduces the tendency to doze off for a quick nap. It is thought that this happens because of the way in which exercise impacts on the root causes of feeling tired in the daytime.

From a lack of energy to stress, working out can relieve these problems and their symptoms, leaving us more enabled to enjoy a great night of restful sleep. Read more about trying to ease sleeping problems through exercise.