When you’re taking care of yourself and exercising regularly, you will likely notice that you’re not only feeling better during the day, but sleeping better at night too. Exercise can provide excellent benefits for your sleep.
Don’t take my word for it; there is scientific evidence that exercise helps improve sleep. Making exercise part of your regular routine can contribute to healthier, more restful sleep, and may help improve sleep issues such as insomnia.
How can exercise affect your sleep? Exercise can give a boost to sleep in several ways. Making time to exercise can…
- Improve sleep quality. Exercise can contribute to a more sound and restful sleep. Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, which is the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.
- Increase sleep amounts. In addition to improving the quality of sleep, exercise also can help you increase the duration of your nightly rest. Being physically active requires you to expend energy, and helps you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of the day. Research indicates that exercise—in particular, regular exercise that’s part of a consistent routine—can help boost sleep duration, in addition to sleep quality.
- Reduce stress and relieve anxiety. A regular exercise routine can help to reduce your stress levels. Stress is a common cause of sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep and sleeping restlessly during the night. Exercise is a potent remedy for anxiety and other mood disorders. Just 5 minutes of exercise can trigger antianxiety responses in the body.
Mind-body exercise such as yoga can help quiet the nervous system, which can help you relax. Research shows that mind-body exercises such as yoga and stretching can help to lower cortisol levels and reduce blood pressure, as well as having positive effects on mood.
If you want to sleep more soundly, try a morning jog. Morning exercise gives a particular boost to deep sleep. Just be careful about doing any vigorous exercise—like running— too early in the morning. Running at dawn, when your body temperature is still low and your muscles and joints are more vulnerable to strain, may make you more prone to injury.