Exercise and Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep?
It is nearly impossible to go through this life without hearing about all the many benefits of exercise and a healthy diet. Our bodies are made to move and often office jobs keep us stagnate. This can lead to all sorts of negative side effects on your bodies and minds, including a negative impact on your sleep. Exercise has many positive effects on your sleep! Although some believe working out can also have downsides when it comes to getting great sleep. Keep reading to get all of the details on how sleep and your workout routine relate to each other. As well as how you can use exercise to get truly great sleep.
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Are Evening Workouts Bad For Your Sleep?
Exercise overall tends to boost energy and mood, which is one of the reasons why so many choose to workout in the mornings. It gives you a head start to your day and gets your blood moving in the morning. It helps you to feel energized and alert. However, you cannot always get your workout in during the morning which can lead to having a choice… You can either workout in the evening, or not at all.
Here is out stance on the debate on whether an evening workout with ruin your sleep. In general, workouts do boost your mood and energy. However, the endorphins and adrenaline to begin to wear off after an hour or two. As long as you are not taking a preworkout or stimulants before or during your workout, it should not impede on your ability to get to sleep.
That being said, if you are wanting to capitalize on the heightened mood and energy that a workout often provides. Then we highly recommend trying to workout at the start of your day as often as possible. It really does get your day off on the right step and can improve mood and energy throughout the day.
Does Exercising Help You Sleep?
For many reasons, YES! Exercise can absolutely help you to get great sleep. The first is that having a consistent workout schedule can help to regulate your circadian rhythm. This is the internal clock that helps to regulate your energy and sleep cycle.
The other benefits are primarily health related. Keeping your body in good shape can help regulate hormones and prevent sleep disorders like Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and more. When your body is healthy, many of your bodies systems tend to be healthier as well and this includes good sleep.
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How does Exercise Increase Sleep Quality?
Exercise Increases Sleep Drive
Sleep drive is a term that refers to your bodies craving for sleep. When your sleep drive is high you often go to sleep faster, and stay asleep longer. While on the other side if your sleep drive is low, you don’t feel the urge to sleep as intensely. When you sleep drive is low it can lead to late nights staying up or not getting a lot of sleep in general.
Exercise helps to increase your sleep drive. You are more likely to feel tired in the evenings and have the urge to go to bed. While when your body remains inactive during the day, you tend to not need as much rest. That is, your sleep drive is lower even if your body and mind still need to get the proper amount of sleep. Keeping your body active helps you to have a high sleep drive in order to get the rest and recovery you need during sleep.
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Working Out Gives You a Boost in Energy
If you sleep well but need a boost of energy in the morning, then a workout first thing in the morning could be just the thing. Getting your heartrate up will really help to dust off the cobwebs, and clear the fog so you can feel awake and energized. You will be amazed at how much breaking a sweat can energize you.
Instead of rolling out of bed and getting to work, a workout as short as 20 minutes of cardio can really boost your overall energy levels and mood. This is because exercising releases endorphins and adrenaline which helps you to feel alert. You will both feel the difference in your energy level immediately after your workout, and an increase in energy and stamina the more frequently you exercise. This means you get short term and long term results with increased energy levels.
Exercise & Weight Loss Decreases Cases of Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is often caused by being overweight and obesity. If you are overweight and struggling with sleep apnea, then losing weight could help. In fact, in many cases weight loss has completely cured sleep
If you are hoping to get better sleep, and you struggle with sleep apnea. Then we highly recommend getting on a consistent diet and workout routine recommended by your doctor in order to reach a healthy weight. You may find that your sleep apnea decreases in severity, or perhaps goes away entirely. Which can absolutely improve your sleep quality overall.
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Lowers Chances of Insomnia
Exercise lowers your chances of experiencing insomnia in several different ways. The first is that it helps to regulate your circadian rhythm. Secondly, working out regularly increases sleep drive. The third reason we have for exercise lowering insomnia is actually due to the fact that it helps to lower symptoms of depression.
Insomnia and depression often comingle together. Many claim that a healthy and consistent workout routine really helps to manage their depression and in turn can help lower your chances of experience insomnia. Good physical health is often great for your mental health as well.
Learn more about the causes and treatments for insomnia in our post: Guide To Insomnia
Weight Loss & Sleep Benefits
With exercise, weight loss is not always the goal. However, if you are needing to drop some weight in order to get healthier, working out is a great way to do so. Being overweight can actually cause a lot of strain on your body as well as different kinds of sleep issues like insomnia and sleep apnea.
If you are experiencing poor sleep caused by being overweight or obese, then a healthy diet and exercise could help you to get better sleep. Maintaining a healthy weight helps your health in all sorts of ways including getting deep and restful sleep at night.
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Potential Downsides to Exercise in Regards To Sleep:
Pain & Discomfort Caused by Exercise
Muscle soreness is common and in general a good sign that you are doing a good job in the gym and gaining muscle. However, it can be quite uncomfortable and can make it difficult to sleep comfortably at night. Thankfully, muscle soreness is at it’s peak when you just start beginning to work a muscle group. As you workout more frequently the lactic acid does not seem to hurt quite as intensely.
If you are experiencing other kinds of pains from your workouts like joint pain. Or if the pain you are feeling lasts more than a week, then you should reconsider your style of workouts and potentially reach out to your doctor to see if something else is going on.
While muscle soreness is pretty normal, it should not last more than a few days. Gentle over the counter pain relievers and anything that reduces swelling (Epsom baths, or ice packs) also tend to relieve pain so you can get to sleep.
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Be Mindful of Pre-Workouts
If you are working out in the afternoon or evening, then we highly recommend you are mindful of using a pre-workout. The can be very helpful when it comes to kickstarting energy and improving your workouts. However, they are often packed full of stimulants like caffeine. Caffeine can remain active in your system for 6 hours after you drink it.
This means if you are working out in the evening and using a pre workout you could be ruining your ability to fall asleep later. Which is why we always recommend skipping any stimulants like caffeine at least 6 hours before you plan on going to bed. If you are working out in the morning, then this should no longer be an issue as they should wear off by the time you are wanting to go to bed in the evening.
Learn more about caffeine and sleep in our post: The Benefits of Quitting Caffeine
Exercise and Sleep – Tips & Advice:
Changes Are Made Through Habits NOT Good/Bad Days:
If you are trying to change your health, this is one of our top recommendations. Building habits is how you will see meaningful changes in your life and health. We all have days when we do extra well and get in a great workout or feel really good about how we ate. We also all have days when we skip our workouts and eat whatever our hearts desire, plus some.
Both of these days are to be expected and celebrated. Thankfully, it is not our best and worst days that define us. It is the habits that we build and our overall lifestyles that truly create change. So don’t kick yourself on your down days, and don’t think one great day in the gym will change everything either. Instead, focus on consistency in order to get the results you want.
Keep Your Workout Routine Manageable
One way to help yourself be consistent over time is by setting manageable goals. You can always increase your routine and workout schedule overtime. However, we suggest creating a workout routine that is easily accomplished within your schedule and lifestyle. This is the best way in order to create real and meaningful changes to your routine.
Trying to create a routine? Our top tip is to start out with manageable goals, and then reaching for more. This comes back to the idea that creating changes takes consistency more than intensity. Which means the more manageable
Schedule Your Workouts in The Mornings:
While you can workout in the evenings without disrupting your sleep, we highly recommend working out in the morning. There are so many added benefits to working out in the mornings that we think you should take advantage of. The first is that exercise is such a great way to wake up in the mornings. The endorphins and adrenaline give you a boost on energy that is great for starting off your day.
The second reason we love morning workouts is because they provide a sense of accomplishment. When you get your workout done at the top of your day, you feel like you have already accomplished something before you even get the day fully started. This is a great confidence booster. Our final reason for a mornings workout is that most people have higher energy levels in the morning that can get depleted during the day.
If you are able to get your workout in first thing, there are little to no distractions that are going to get in your way. While evening workouts can get delayed by exhaustion, kids, meetings, dinner dates, and so much more. This is less likely to happen if you already worked out while everyone else was still waking up.
Final Thoughts – Exercise and Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep?
We all know that a healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet and exercise is good for you. We hope that now you can see that it is not only good for your waistline, confidence, cardiovascular health and so on. It is also great for your sleep! Getting quality sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing, working out regularly can help you to get great quality sleep every night!
Have a question for us? Feel free to Contact Us and send us any questions you may have. We would love to help out in any way we can!