Exercise can indeed affect your sleep, and not always for the
better. How, when, and where you exercise all have an impact on your sleep quality. The amount of physical exercise
that you exert during the day is one of the key ingredients to helping you get a good sleep at night. The more
active your body is during the day, the more likely you are to relax at night and fall asleep faster.
With regular exercise you'll notice that your
quality of sleep is improved and the transition between the cycles and phases of sleep will become smoother and
Can Exercise Improve
Yes, exercise can improve the quality of
your sleep. In fact, many experts point to this basic lifestyle adjustment as being key to sleep improvement.
However, sources point out that how and when you exercise makes a difference in how positively and how much your
exercise will affect your sleep.
Generally speaking, exercise in the mid to
late afternoon is ideal. For one thing, it gets you past the sleepy time in the afternoon when taking a nap (if
possible) can result in your not feeling sleepy at bedtime. Late afternoon exercise gets your body heat up and your
circulation going, and as your body temperature cools, it seems to get the body ready for sleep.
If you eat dinner early, exercising after
dinner may work for you - but giving your body at least four hours of cool down time is said to be
A vigorous workout in the evening shortly
before bed means you are trying to sleep with a raised body temperature, and studies have shown that a cooling body
temperature is most conducive to sleep.
If morning is the only time you have to
exercise, of course that is better than no exercise at all. Because exercise is good for the body overall, all body
systems from circulation to muscle tone are improved, and keeping your body systems in top shape ultimately
promotes a good night's sleep.
Exercise also relieves tension. A 2008
study pointed out the relaxing benefits of exercise and the subsequent benefits of better sleep.
What Kind of Exercise Is
For the most effective sleep promotion,
most experts agree that cardiovascular exercise is best. A vigorous cardio workout that lasts at least 20 minutes
is sufficient to raise body temperature, get your heart pumping, and enhance circulation. Examples of
cardiovascular exercises you can do at home or nearby include:
Ø Walking (vigorous, fast walking)
Ø Jumping rope
Ø Bike riding
The key is to make the exercise continual
and vigorous. This is why exercises like Yoga and lifting weights, while valuable and valid types of exercise, are
not necessarily the best choices for sleep-promoting cardiovascular exercise.
Yoga and other meditative, stretching
exercises may be helpful before bed, however, to relieve tension without raising the body temperature too much. In
fact, some experts say that stretching periodically throughout the day may be of benefit. Muscle tension is kept at
bay and is less likely to "take hold" and cause tension and pain this way.