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How exercise can help you sleep better

by Freya 2 minutes read

Last updated: 21 Jul, 2022

A lot of us don’t realise that our lifestyles can impact our sleep, there are a number of factors in our daily lives that can allow us to sleep better at night. You may come to the conclusion that exercise helps you to sleep at night due to using up more energy during the day, however, it is not quite as simple as that and doing so will not guarantee you better sleep.

There are a number of factors you should consider when using exercise to improve sleep quality.

How long you exercise for and the method you are using to exercise are both key components to a good nights sleep. Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day, 5 days a week will make it easier for you to drift off at night but the intensity of this workout is just as important.

Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like walking or swimming can reduce the time it takes to fall into a deep sleep and increase the length of sleep, compared to no exercise. Albeit, some aerobic exercise such as running or lifting weights had no effect. If you are looking to reduce the amount of time it takes to get to sleep or to get more sleep in general, consider including some moderate intensity exercise, as well as some extra higher intensity workouts into your day.

Exercise raises your core body temperature, this rise in body temperature tells your body that it's time to be awake, after 30-90 minutes, your temperature will begin to fall, this helps lead to sleepiness.

The time of day that you exercise is also vital when using it to help you sleep. Exercise can bring on adrenaline which encourages your body to stay alert therefore, you should end your exercise five hours or more before your bedtime to ensure that the adrenaline does not interrupt you from drifting off.

This is important, especially if you are doing high intensity workouts, as they increase your heart rate, it will delay sleep onset, making it harder to fall asleep.

It can also be the case that getting up early to exercise is depriving you of important sleeping hours, so if you do get up earlier you must go to bed earlier to avoid this.

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