There is no denying that physical activity has countless benefits, both to the body and soul. However, one of the most important benefits of exercise is sleep!
While it is undeniable, the exact correlation between exercise and sleep is known only by a few exercise enthusiasts.
Here are 4 ways in which exercise increases sleep quality:
The most obvious way in which exercise affects sleep is that it tires you out. Physical activity is hard work and takes a toll on your body. Your muscles and your mind become tired after a good session of exercising. This tiredness makes sleep a lot easier.
Exercise also reduces stress and relieves anxiety. This correlation is more indirect, but important nonetheless. It has been proven that exercise lowers cortisol levels, decreases blood pressure, and triggers anti-anxiety responses in the body. Since stress is a leading cause of sleep disorders and other sleeping problems, a decrease in stress levels can greatly improve the quality of sleep that you are experiencing.
Mindful exercises like yoga are especially good for regulating stress levels to bring a sense of calm to your everyday life. This calmness makes the transition to sleep so much easier.
Exercise resets your sleep-wake cycle. It does this by raising your body temperature, which allows it to drop significantly a few hours later. This drop in body temperature triggers sleepiness and makes it easier to fall asleep.
The final reason is only applicable if you exercise outside. The exposure to the sunlight allows you to take in more significant amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has a multitude of benefits – one of these are increased sleep quality.
We have already discussed the scientific reasons behind the correlation between exercise and sleep. Now, let’s delve a bit deeper and expand on the fact that exercise can make you sleep better.
Physical activity not only improves the quality of your deep sleep, but the exercise also burns energy. This energy is replenished by increased amounts of time spent in a deep sleep.
While strenuous activity can undoubtedly increase the quality of your sleep, doing it at the wrong time doesn’t. Exercising at the wrong time during the day can have negative effects on your sleep-wake cycle.
Heavy exercising one to two hours before bed can be detrimental to your sleep health.
While the exact reason behind exercise decreasing the effects of sleep disorders remains unknown, studies have determined that exercise during the day is a natural remedy to help with sleep disorders.
The symptoms of insomnia are alleviated significantly when there is an increase in the amount of physical activity experienced during the day. Furthermore, the effects of sleep take place over a period of time, rather than immediately.
Exercise decreases the amount of anxiety, arousal, and depression experienced by the sleeper. These 3 feelings contribute greatly to insomnia.
Finally, exercise brings about changes in the body clock, which reduces insomnia.
Unfortunately, there is no set time of daily exercise to ensure the best quality of sleep. Furthermore, it varies from person to person. However, we can provide a generic amount of exercise to act as a guide for you to find the best balance for your body.
Even if you just exercise for 30 minutes every day, you will likely experience a difference in your overall sleep quality. Both the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association have recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week (30 minutes a day) in order to maintain a good sleep cycle.
Furthermore, having a consistent exercising routine, with a set schedule for each day, increases quality of sleep more than random, haphazard exercising does. Lastly, make sure to get quality sleep with a quality bed. Consider a pure foam bed from Kooi Beds, designed specifically for the lives of busy athletes.
Exercising is such a healthy habit to add to your lifestyle; the benefits are endless, and sleep quality is only the tip of the iceberg. Do yourself a favour and find a form of exercise that you enjoy, and reap the benefits.