How Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better

How Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better

It’s no surprise that one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to get more exercise. Since our local gyms are most likely still closed, exercise seems harder to come by nowadays. That’s definitely not true though, since YouTube is full of highly effective home workouts that’ll get you sweating and breathless! While exercise is mainly heralded for weight loss and aesthetic muscle gain, there’s also another powerful benefit slightly lesser known: better sleep! While the exact link between exercise and quality sleep isn’t 100% known, the link has been proven to solidly exist time and time again, such as in this study. So if you wantto get sleep on time rather than end up scrolling through Pinterest under the covers for hours, it’s time to check out those at-home workout fitness gurus. If you’ve been struggling with insomnia, those 15-minute sessions of burpees and other strenuous ab exercises won’t look so bad once your nightly tossing and turning starts to fade. It’s true! Studies have shown that aerobic exercise -- more casually known as “cardio” (walking, cycling, jump rope, dance, and more) -- is substantially associated with falling asleep 13 minutes earlier. While the exact scientific mechanism hasn’t been pinned down, there are some possible theories that can explain this link:

Exercise lowers your stress and anxiety.

Ever stressed out so much over something you couldn’t fall asleep? You’re nowhere near alone! Anxiety is a major stressor that keeps your heart beating fast, pushing away the fatigue you need for those zzzz’s. Exercise releases endorphins that calm you down over an extended period of time, so the effects of some morning workouts will be felt well into the night.

Exercise influences your body temperature.

It’s not unusual to start a steep hike shivering in the cold and feel like spritzing on some mint water after reaching the summit. This rise in body temperature then follows the mantra “what goes up must come down” once you’ve stopped exerting yourself for a while. Body temperatures also drop as you drift closer and closer to sleep, so an exercise-induced drop can mimic this and subconsciously send “it’s time to go to sleep” signals to your brain.

Exercise helps prevent obesity, which is also linked to poor sleep.

Sleep conditions such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are highly linked to obesity. Restless leg syndrome is pretty much what it sounds like: the constant subconscious or conscious feeling of needing to move your legs. It’s easy to see why something like that would keep you up! Conversely, poor sleep is associated with unwanted weight gain, as sleep deprivation has been linked to disruptions in metabolism, fat storage, and cravings.

That’s awesome to know, now how much exercise do I actually need to benefit?

The amount of exercise needed per week to experience better sleep varies by individual, but the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes a week. That’s just 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week!

When should I exercise?

Is it true that exercising right before bed will keep you up? Only for some people, so it’s up to you to figure out if you’re one of them. If your elevated heart rate from that 11 pm Zumba session doesn’t wane enough for you to sleep, consider moving it to an earlier time and do some relaxing yoga before bedtime. Your muscles typically work more efficiently a few hours after you wake up, their performance peaking in the evening. If you plan on engaging in some muscle-straining workouts such as gymnastics or tennis, it’s safer to save it for later to better prevent injuries.

Moving forward

If your life could benefit from getting better sleep, start figuring out what type of exercise is best for you in regards to fun and consistency. Don’t pick some expensive at-home equipment just because all your friends are if you have a feeling you’d be sick of it after a few days. Since developing a consistent exercise routine could take a while to sink in and maintain, you can explore other options to help you sleep better in the meantime. We can’t endorse the power of a new, high-quality mattress enough for that! Start off 2021 well-rested and energized by upgrading to a Lull Mattress. For a limited time, we’re offering $250 off premium memory foam, reinvented for your ultimate comfort and support. We’ve got no-contact delivery and 95% customer satisfaction, which means you’ll have more reason to get a good night’s sleep!
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