When is the Best Time to Exercise for Better Sleep?

Exercise has many benefits, including improved sleep quality. Learn when is the best time to exercise for better sleep and how it can help you get a good night's rest.

When is the Best Time to Exercise for Better Sleep?

Exercise has many benefits, including improved sleep. Moderate to vigorous physical activity can increase adult sleep quality by reducing sleep onset and decreasing the amount of time spent awake in bed during the night. It can also help relieve daytime sleepiness and, for some people, reduce the need for sleep medications. Recent research indicates that exercise decreases sleep discomfort and insomnia in patients.

The effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appear to be similar to those of sleeping pills. However, more research is needed to compare physical exercise with medical treatments for insomnia. Exercise can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and normalize the internal clock. It also increases core body temperature, which can make you feel sleepy when it starts to go down.

Researchers examined 23 studies that evaluated sleep initiation and quality in healthy adults who underwent a single night exercise session compared to similar adults who did not. They found that not only did night exercise not affect sleep, it seemed to help people fall asleep faster and spend more time in a deep sleep. However, those who did high-intensity exercise, such as interval training less than an hour before bedtime, took longer to fall asleep and had poorer sleep quality. The best time to exercise for better sleep is two or more hours before bedtime.

Establishing a regular bedtime and adopting a relaxing sleep routine can also help improve your sleep quality. Make sure your bed is comfortable and that your room is dark, quiet and cool. If you are a “morning” person, exercising in the morning may be beneficial for you as it can help synchronize your body clock. Exercising outdoors in the morning may also have the added benefit of sun exposure.

If you can't sleep after exercising at night, it may be helpful to schedule your workouts earlier in the day. A recent survey found that people who exercise at night take about the same amount of time to fall asleep as those who don't exercise at all. So it's important to listen to your body and find a realistic time that works with your schedule and energy levels.

Sue Ashauer
Sue Ashauer

General food junkie. Extreme zombie buff. Extreme coffee trailblazer. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Devoted food trailblazer. Tv buff.

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