Sleep is a valuable asset that many of us take for granted. When we fail to sleep for 7-9 hours nightly, we feel the immediate effects. Additionally, studies show that a chronic lack of sleep has detrimental long-term consequences to our health and can even shorten our lifespan.
One way to improve the quality and quantity of sleep is to engage in consistent physical exercise. Adequate sleep, daily exercise and a nutritious diet are the cornerstones of a healthy life. While scientists are discovering more reasons why we sleep and what constitutes quality sleep, it’s apparent that exercise benefits sleep quality in adults of all ages and children. Sleep increases the time spent in slow-wave patterns of sleep, or deep sleep, which is important for body repair and maintenance. Moreover, exercise improves the duration of sleep which helps to moderate our high intensity and busy lives.
If you don’t already exercise on a routine basis, try it even for a short period of time each day for 5 days. Then evaluate whether or not the quality and quantity of your sleep improves. Be aware that exercising directly before sleeping is not optimal, since exercise is a natural physical and mental stimulant. However, exercise in the morning, day or early evening is one of the 10 commandments of healthy sleeping!
If you are tossing and turning during the night, give exercise a shot!
Kelley, G. A. and K. S. Kelley (2017). “Exercise and sleep: a systematic review of previous meta-analyses.” Journal of Evidence Based Medicine 10(1): 26-36.
The National Sleep Foundation https://www.sleepfoundation.org/
The American Sleep Apnea Association https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/ten-commandments-of-healthy-sleep/