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If you're having trouble getting a good night's sleep, exercise might be the solution. Sure, it seems counterintuitive—exercise can make you more energetic, after all—but the truth is that regular exercise can help improve your sleep quality and leave you feeling more rested in the morning. Let's take a closer look at how exercise and sleep are connected.
How Exercise Improves Sleep Quality
For starters, exercise increases your body temperature. As your body temperature rises during a workout, it begins to drop again once your session ends. This drop in body temperature signals to your brain that it's time for bed. And since an appropriately cool bedroom temperature is essential for good sleep quality, exercising helps create the perfect environment for your body to rest and recharge.
Exercise Reduces Stress Levels
Exercise also helps reduce stress levels, which can have a major impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Stress can cause physical tension that makes it hard to relax at bedtime; conversely, regular exercise increases endorphins (which are known as "happy hormones") and reduces cortisol (a hormone produced when you're stressed). This creates an overall feeling of calmness that makes it easier to drift off into dreamland.
Exercise Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Regular physical activity helps keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and night. High or low blood sugar levels can have a negative effect on sleep quality, so maintaining steady levels is key. Exercise accomplishes this by helping burn off excess glucose in the bloodstream—and by making sure there's enough of it in circulation when you need energy during waking hours.
Exercise Improves Circadian Rhythm
Your body follows an internal clock that governs when you should be asleep or awake based on sunlight exposure. This clock is called the circadian rhythm, and physical activity can help regulate this rhythm so that you’re ready for bed at the same time every night. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of a light aerobic activity like walking or stretching can significantly improve circadian rhythms over time.
Exercise Improves Quality of Sleep
Not only does exercise help make falling asleep easier, but it also helps improve the quality of sleep once you do fall asleep! People who engage in regular physical activity are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed than those who don’t exercise at all or don’t exercise regularly enough.
Exercise Helps Reduce Daytime Sleepiness
Regular physical activity helps improve alertness during the day as well as reduce fatigue caused by lack of sleep. Even if you’ve experienced a bad night of sleep, getting some light physical activity during the day can help make up for it by keeping you energized throughout the day without having to rely on caffeine or other stimulants to stay awake.
Exercise Can Increase Deep Sleep Stages
Deep sleep is important for making memories and repairing body tissues, but it’s often disrupted due to poor sleeping habits or medical conditions such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, research has found that regular physical activity increases deep non-REM (rapid eye movement) stages of sleep—the deepest stage in which most memory consolidation takes place—which allows for better memory formation and muscle repair while we rest at night.
Exercise Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster
Engaging in moderate intensity aerobic activities like jogging or swimming before bedtime can help reduce time spent tossing and turning before drifting off into slumberland! Research shows that these activities increase core body temperature, followed by a drop shortly after stopping which signals your body that it’s time to go to bed soon! Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime for better sleep quality.
Exercise Helps Combat Insomnia
Insomnia is one of the most common sleeping disorders characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night despite having no underlying medical condition causing it. Studies have shown that engaging in regular physical activity not only reduces symptoms associated with chronic insomnia but also helps people fall asleep faster when they do experience mild episodes of insomnia from time to time!
Exercise Boosts Melatonin Production
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by our bodies each night as darkness falls which signals our bodies to begin winding down for bedtime. Regular physical activities has been linked with increased melatonin production, making it easier for us to drift off to dreamland!
Exercise and Sleep: What You Should Avoid Doing
If you want to make sure you get a quality night's rest, here are some things you should avoid doing when it comes to exercise and sleep.
Don't Exercise Too Close to Bedtime
A new Harvard study suggests avoiding vigorous exercise for at least one hour before bedtime. This gives your body time to cool down and slow down your heart rate and breathing rate which will help make it easier for you to fall asleep faster. Additionally, exercising close to bedtime can make it more difficult for you to get the quality sleep that you need due to increased levels of adrenaline in your body from your workout.
Don't Exercise Too Much or Too Little
Exercising too much can lead to exhaustion which can prevent us from getting enough restful sleep while not exercising enough can lead to an accumulation of stress hormones in our bodies which also makes falling asleep more difficult. To maximize the benefits of exercise on sleep, try aiming for 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least five times per week—this should give your body just enough activity without overworking yourself too much or too little.
Get Quality Sleep with These Tips
Achieving a good night's sleep can be easier than many people think. While there are some common practices to get quality rest, such as setting a consistent schedule or avoiding caffeine in the afternoons, other measures to get quality sleep may not be as well known. For instance, winding down an hour before bedtime by cutting off screens, reading a book or doing a puzzle are all ways to get your mind into sleeping mode. Dimming the lights in the evening and keeping bedrooms comfortable and free of distractions can also help you get quality sleep. Sleeping habits will vary from person to person so it is important to figure out what works best for you to get the best rest possible! Investing in a quality mattress and comfortable bedding from Orange County Mattress can support better sleep hygiene. Visit our collection online of top brands or call us at (949) 566-0109 to get started!