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How Exercise Can Improve Your Sleep Routine

person asleep with running shoes in bed

Many people use exercise as a way to maintain good physical health as well as good mental health but exercising can also have a positive impact on your sleep routine.

We spoke to health expert April Mayer from Amerisleep, who reveals the integral role of exercise to help you sleep better and improve sleep quality. 

Can exercise alter your sleeping pattern?  

More involvement in physical activity on a regular basis helps to use up energy and tire muscles, which means that individuals are more likely to get to sleep quickly after turning the lights out.

Exercise also supports longer and deeper sleep patterns, meaning that you are likely to sleep through any disruptions. In turn, uninterrupted sleep boosts muscle repair and your immune system. 

Is more sleep needed if you engage in regular physical activity? 

Partaking in around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week and generally leading a more active lifestyle does increase the need for more sleep. On average, it tends to give you around 7-8 hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep. 

Is it possible that exercise can help people with sleeping disorders? 

Sleeping disorders affect millions of people worldwide, but exercise can in fact provide some relief for people living with these disorders.

A study carried out by Northwestern University discovered that insomnia-diagnosed participants who completed between 30-40 minutes of exercise per week, experienced a better sleep pattern and improved their sleep duration by around 1.25 hours.

As a result, exercise has been proven to alleviate sleep deprivation for some individuals with insomnia. 

What are the main mental health benefits of exercise?  

Alongside the physical advantages of exercising are the undeniable benefits to an individual’s mental health and wellbeing.

Whether it is a short bike ride or morning walk, both light and more intense exercise can help produce endorphins and therefore reduce any feelings of stress or anxiety. This more positive and stress-free feeling in the mind can also lead to better sleep. 

Can exercise have any negative impacts on sleep patterns? 

Although sleep plays an integral role in aiding better sleep, it is important to bear in mind that being too active later in the day can also have a detrimental effect on sleep patterns.

Exercise raises your heart rate and body temperature which can increase the time it takes to relax and get to sleep. As a result, it is recommended that you should refrain from exercising at least 2 to 3 hours before you plan to sleep to avoid any negative impacts on your sleep.  

Does daily exercise enhance sleep quality? 

Exercise most definitely boosts sleep quality, whether it’s moderate or high-impact exercising. Just 30 minutes of physical activity per day such as walking, swimming or biking can improve sleep as long as individuals are consistent and make it part of their routine. 

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