Does exercising help you to sleep more soundly? There’s actually not a huge amount of research on how exercise impacts sleep, but some of the studies that have been done generally report that it has a positive impact.
However, it seems that it really does depend on the type of exercise you do. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep, and increase the amount of sleep you manage to get.
More intense exercise, such as lifting heavy weights and running, may not help sleep. For example, if you have just done a heavy boxing session, you might not immediately feel like sleeping afterwards. It takes some time for your body to calm down. Perhaps we need to partake in exercise that provides a gentle aerobic workout if we want to sleep well.
So how exactly does exercise help you sleep better? There’s a few very logical explanations. First and foremost, doing light exercise can help you to de-stress and feel more relaxed, which will naturally help you to fall asleep.
Another reason may be because when you exercise, your body temperature increases, then when you stop it cools down. This temperature drop can sometimes help you to drift off when you jump into bed. Lastly, exercise tends to ease things like anxiety, depression and agitation, helping you to feel more at ease before you go to sleep.
The time of day you do exercise may also make a difference. For example, you might find it easier to fall asleep if you have done exercise in the afternoon or evening, because when you go to bed you will still be feeling the positive effects.
So to conclude, research does suggest that exercise can help sleep. But it does depend on what exercise you do and when you do it. Some studies have also shown it takes a few months for the positive effects of exercise to start helping you sleep better. Exercise if obviously very good for you, so it’s an added bonus if it helps you get improved shut-eye.