Using physical activity to get better sleep
A daily necessity.
A common topic of conversation.
An all-encompassing excuse for what we can’t get done in a day.
A common reason to see the doctor.
A regular subject of song lyrics and lullabies.
The source of an entire multi-billion-dollar industry.
The reason there’s so much attention given to sleep is because we aren’t getting enough, and it’s costing us, our money and livelihoods.
That’s why, in honor of National Sleep Awareness Month, EFS is making an effort to help you get better sleep.
One of the ways we can help you get more sleep is through exercise.
The exercise and sleep connection
Studies show a strong link between exercise and better sleep. Exercise helps you:
- Fall asleep faster
- Stay asleep
- Get more restful slumber
- Feel more alert during the day
Exercise is as effective for sleep as medication and therapy!
One of the reasons researchers think you get better sleep after exercise is related to body temperature. Exercise heats your body, while the cooling effect afterward helps steer your body toward the best sleeping conditions.
Exercise also increases your body’s need for restorative sleep while sedentary activity contributes to sleep problems. If you think about it, exercise wears your body out and gives it something to rest from, while sitting all day doesn’t.
To see how exercise affects you personally, pay attention to how you sleep on the days when you exercise. You might notice you sleep longer and harder those as your body repairs itself.
How to maximize sleep after exercise
Any exercise has a positive benefit on your body, particularly your slumber, but you can use these strategic tips to help you maximize those benefits.
- If you already have sleep troubles, work out at least a few hours before bedtime to give you ample wind-down time. Exercising too close to bedtime can actually hinder sleep because you’re still hot and invigorated.
- You need to get at least 10 minutes of exercise at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity to sleep better. Exercisers who got 150 minutes per week (30 per day) slept significantly better.
- A single standalone workout can help you sleep better, but regular exercise has an even more profound impact on sleep quality.
- Allow yourself 7-9 hours of sleep after exercise to experience the best effects.
Other ways to sleep better:
Sleep researchers call the behaviors that help you sleep better “sleep hygiene.” Improve your sleep hygiene with these quick tips:
- Offload your worries before bed by writing out tomorrow’s to-do list tonight
- Limit heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed
- Stay away from TV, computer, and phone screens before bed
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom set to 60-67 degrees
- Perform relaxing bedtime rituals such as taking a bath, reading, and lightly stretching
- Get up at the same time every morning to maintain a consistent sleep cycle
- Make sure to get enough exposure to natural light during the day
We want you to live the healthiest life possible, which includes getting enough sleep. Come to the gym or schedule your personal training sessions today to sleep better tonight!