Are you someone who struggles to get a good night's sleep? If so, you're not alone. According to a study published in the journal Sleep, nearly one-third of adults’ report that they don't get enough sleep. While there are many factors that can contribute to poor sleep, one solution that's often overlooked is exercise. In this blog post, we'll be exploring the science behind how exercise can improve your sleep and sharing some tips for incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.
The relationship between exercise and sleep is complex and multifaceted. Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the amount of deep, restorative sleep that you get each night. This is because physical activity helps to regulate your body's internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm.
When you exercise regularly, your circadian rhythm becomes more stable, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up at consistent times each day.
But that's not all. Exercise can also have a positive impact on your mental health, which in turn can improve your sleep. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters that help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. These are all common causes of insomnia and through the help of exercise, you can reduce these negative emotions, helping you to sleep more soundly.
So, how much exercise do you need to reap these benefits? According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, even moderate exercise can have a positive impact on sleep quality. The study found that participants who engaged in 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, experienced significant improvements in sleep quality compared to those who didn't exercise.
Of course, it's not just about how much exercise you do - it's also about when you do it. For the best sleep outcomes, it's recommended that you exercise in the morning or early afternoon, as exercising too close to bedtime can actually make it harder to fall asleep. This is because exercise raises your body temperature, which can interfere with the natural drop in temperature that occurs when you're ready to fall asleep. Additionally, exercising too late in the day can make you feel more alert and energized, making it harder to wind down at night (this can be a handy tip for shift workers).
If you're someone who struggles to fit exercise into your daily routine, there are plenty of ways to incorporate physical activity into your day without taking up too much time. For example, you could try taking a brisk walk on your lunch break or doing a few sets of push-ups and squats. The HIIT classes at Studio 99 are only 30 minutes long, so you can easily squeeze them into your busy routine. Small changes like these can add up to big benefits for your sleep and overall health.
In conclusion, if you're struggling with poor sleep, exercise could be the answer you've been looking for. By improving your body's internal clock, reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting better mental health, regular physical activity can help you to sleep more soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Incorporate some exercise into your daily routine and see how it impacts your sleep quality - you might be surprised at the results.
Lowe, H., Haddock, G., Mulligan, L., Gregg, L., Fuzellier-Hart, A., Carter, L.-A., & Kyle, S. (2019). Does exercise improve sleep for adults with insomnia? A systematic review with quality appraisal. Clinical Psychology Review, 1-12.
Singh, N., Clements, K., & Fiatarone, M. (1997). A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Exercise on Sleep. Sleep, 95-101.
Wang, F., & Boros, S. (2021). The effect of physical activity on sleep quality: a systematic review. European Journal of Physiotherapy, 11-18.