Regular Exercise: The Key to a Better Night's Sleep
Have trouble falling asleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night for no reason? If so, hit the gym more often! Regular exercise improves sleep and prevents insomnia. It's a foolproof way to catch more Zzz's and wake up refreshed. On top of that, you'll get leaner and have more energy.
Curious to find out more? Let's see how exercise influences your sleep!
The Effects of Physical Activity on Sleep
Exercise and sleep are strongly connected. According to health experts, physical activity leads to a deeper, more refreshing sleep. In clinical trials, subjects fell asleep faster on the days they’ve exercised. The explanation is simple.
Physical activity puts stress on your body and nervous system. During sleep, your body repairs damaged tissues and builds new cells. Basically, it heals itself and recovers from daily stress. The same goes for your brain. When you're sleeping, it builds new neuronal connections and fights the damage caused by exercise-induced stress. This increases the depth of your sleep.
According to a recent study, working out might be the best way to prevent and treat insomnia. An active lifestyle improves your mood, sleep quality, and mental well-being. The relationship between sleep and exercise is mutual. Exercise influence sleep and vice versa. A good night's sleep will lead to better workouts, greater energy, and improved physical performance.
In a clinical trial conducted on 17 sedentary seniors with insomnia, those who followed an aerobic exercise program for 16 weeks reported major improvements in sleep quality, duration, and efficiency.
Moreover, they experienced a significant reduction in daytime sleepiness and depressive symptoms. Another study has found that working out may help reduce the need for sleeping medications.
Since exercise is linked to improved mental function and reduced all-cause mortality, it may an effective adjuvant or alternative to sleeping treatments. It's no secret that sleeping pills carry potential side effects.
These drugs may increase your risk of premature death, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and memory decline. Most people experience immediate adverse reactions, such as unusual dreams, uncontrollable shaking, heartburn, headaches, daytime drowsiness, and digestive distress. In the worst case scenario, sleeping pills may cause parasomnias, such as sleep walking. Exercise has none of these side effects.
How to Exercise for Better Sleep
Both aerobic and resistance training improve sleep quality. The more intense your workout, the better you'll sleep at night. However, beware that overtraining as well as exercising at bedtime can negatively affect sleep.
Exercise increases your heart rate and body temperature. At the same time, it stimulates the nervous system and increases the production of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. These chemicals raise your energy levels, which in turn, may interfere with your sleep.
Even though this doesn't apply to everyone, it's recommended to avoid working out before bedtime. You never know how your body reacts. If you're short on time and can not exercise early in the day, do it at least three to four hours before hitting the sack. Eventually, try a light workout at bedtime, such as stretching, yoga, or pilates.
If you still have trouble falling asleep, use natural remedies. Valerian and chamomile tea, magnum supplements, and essential oils can help. Lavender oil, for instance, promotes relaxation and wards off stress. All you need to do is to rub a few drops on your neck or wrist, or inhale its scent.
- Research shows a strong link between exercise and sleep. The relationship between the two is mutual.
- Exercise improves sleep quality and vice versa. A good night’s sleep can boost your performance in the gym, increase muscle endurance, and promote muscle growth.
- It’s recommended to avoid training before bedtime. Exercise raises your heart and body temperature while stimulating the nervous system. This can affect your quality of sleep.