How Working Out Affects Sleep and Insomnia
Exercise and sleep, two necessary evils (we’re joking of course). Obviously, both of these are very important to our health, but with busy lives full of work, family, and other commitments, it no surprise that it could be a tough go getting enough of either. In most cases, the need for sleep edges out the will to exercise. However, some people may not be getting enough sleep anyhow (at least 7 hours a night for an adult), aren’t getting quality sleep, or have trouble sleeping. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 35-40% of all adults either have trouble getting to sleep or experience daytime sleepiness. One of the best ways to improve your sleep, as cruel as it may be, is to exercise. Here are some notes from a couple of studies on how working out affects sleep.
A study reported in the journal for Mental Health and Physical Activity found that getting just 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, improved sleep quality 65%, versus being sedentary. The study sampled more than 2,600 adults, both male and female, ranging from ages 18-85. Participants also noted that they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity; once could also assume that as a result, productiveness at work or school would also improve.
Exercise can even help with chronic insomnia. Another study noted the effects of a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like walking reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased length of sleep for people with chronic insomnia, versus a night of no exercise. Although exact reasons are unknown, there are many possibilities for why exercise is effective. One theory is that the body-heating effects of exercise; it triggers an increase in body temperature, and the post-exercise drop in temperature may promote falling asleep. Exercise may also combat insomnia by minimizing anxiety, arousal and depressive symptoms. Also, exercise may reduce insomnia by its effects on one’s internal body clock.
Whatever the scientific reason behind it is, there’s no question that getting in a workout helps your sleep habits, and vice versa; you can’t get a full, healthy workout without ample rest. So next time you deciding between rest and being active, remember that a balance of both are necessary for you to feel your best; so get moving and then get to bed!