What Role Does Exercise Play in Sleep?
Health, Sleep

What Role Does Exercise Play in Sleep?

We all have heard countless times that ‘exercise is good for you.’ Indeed, it is! Everybody must maintain a healthy lifestyle that comes with eating a balanced diet and exercising, irrespective of age or gender. 


But why exercise? Well, it is not just to curb your body weight. It is a powerful medicine that helps mitigate health problems, boosts energy, and builds strength. However, did you know that exercising daily can help you sleep better?


Engaging yourself in any physical activity or exercise makes you tired, which is essential for a good night’s sleep. 


When you exercise regularly, you’ll notice that you feel energetic during the day and sleep like a baby at night. In this article, let’s delve deeper into the impact exercise has on sleep, ideal timings, and how much exercise is necessary for a healthy body. 


Impact of Exercise on Sleep

Before we understand the effects of exercise on sleep, it is vital to know that sleep and exercise have a give-and-take relationship. Studies state that poor sleep can hinder your goal of achieving a physically active lifestyle, whereas a proper rest of 8 hours can give you the required energy to exercise the following day. Let’s have a look at the key impacts of exercise on sleep.


Exercise Helps You Fall Asleep.

If you’re tossing and turning and not able to sleep at night, probably shifting to a routine that involves exercising can help you sleep faster. Any physical activity can trigger a good night’s sleep faster and enables you to stay asleep during the night. In fact, aerobic exercise mitigates insomnia and decreases daytime drowsiness. 


Thanks to exercise, you can reduce your sleep onset time, enabling you to fall asleep faster. Indeed, who wouldn’t want a night of peaceful sleep after a hectic day!


Improves Sleep Quality and Duration

Along with helping you fall asleep, exercise improves the duration and quality of sleep. When you exercise and remain physically active, you burn out a good amount of energy, making you feel tired. Hence, your body energy will drop down at the end of the day, and all you will wish to do is fall on the bed and rest. Since you are likely to fall asleep the moment you hit the bed, you will get the requisite sleep of seven to eight hours.


Furthermore, exercise boosts deep sleep phases, regarded as the most restorative sleep stages. Once you’re in a deep sleep, you’re unlikely to be affected by disruptions, enhancing your sleep quality. You will enjoy a sound and restful sleep, which boosts your immune system, muscle repair and generation, and cardiac health.

De-escalates Stress and Anxiety

Stress is one of the most common things that can keep people awake like an owl at night and causes disturbed sleep patterns. However, if you exercise daily, you can kick out stress easily. Did you know that working out just for 5 minutes stimulates anti-anxiety responses in the body? It prepares your mind and body to fight against anxious thoughts. 


Further, light exercises trigger the production of endorphins–happy hormones. These hormones engage with the receptors in your mind to eliminate stressful and anxious thoughts. They make you feel comfortable and positive, and when you’re stress-free, you fall asleep in no time. 

Reduces Daytime Sleepiness

You do not feel drowsy in the daytime when you have a good night’s sleep. Since exercise can fight against stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders, which are all symptoms of daytime sleepiness, you can eventually cut down yawning and drowsiness during the day. Researchers have pointed out that exercise can help mitigate daytime sleepiness among people suffering from depression. 

Ideal Timings for Exercising

Now, if you think you can exercise any time of the day, you are under the wrong impression. Here’s what you need to know.

Morning Exercises are the Best

Indeed, mornings are the best time to exercise. Sleeping at night makes the body’s blood pressure fall by 10-20% naturally, and this dip helps your body restore energy and is also good for your heart. However, people with sleep disorders are unlikely to experience such a nighttime drop in blood pressure. An early morning workout session is said to bolster blood pressure reduction and maximize deep sleep at night


Further, your body’s internal clock is maintained when you exercise in the morning. Studies show that morning sunlight helps reinstate the body’s cardiac rhythm. Since light enters the body through the eyes, it stimulates the production of cortisol and adrenaline hormones, which are responsible for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm.

Exercising Before Bedtime is a Big No

Exercising too late in the evenings or right before bedtime is not a good idea as it can negatively impact your sleep. Generally speaking, your heart pounds more, and body temperature increases when you exercise. Working out at night releases hormones such as endorphins and cortisol that increase brain activity, so you don’t feel sleepy. 


Similarly, lower body temperature notifies the brain that it’s time to sleep, which will not happen if your body temperature increases at night. However, if you plan to exercise in the evenings, then make sure to do it at least 2 hours before bedtime, giving your body and mind adequate time to relax and calm down. 


Having said that, you can also exercise in the afternoon, considering you have plenty of time to cool down before sleep. 

How Much Exercise is Necessary for an Undisturbed Sleep?

There is no standard limit, but the US Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes of exercise a week or at least 30 minutes a day. 


The key here is to engage yourself in the exercise of your choice–it can be yoga, aerobics, jogging, gymming, swimming, etc. But make sure you stick to it and ensure consistency in your workouts. 


Types of Exercises to Help You Sleep Soundly

People’s choices in choosing a type of exercise may differ as different bodies show varied reactions to distinct activities. For example, aerobics, for some people, can help them sleep, but for some, it can cause muscle-related injuries. 


Here are some common types of exercises you can choose to start with:


  • Functional exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, or weightlifting promote a good night’s sleep.
  • Yoga is a type of exercise that calms your body and helps your mind achieve a peaceful mental state for sleeping. 
  • Morning exercise such as jogging is the best as it boosts deep sleep
  • Moderate-intensive exercises such as aerobics, brisk walking, stretching, etc., increase the heart rate, which can help you sleep better when it returns to normal. 

Exercise Daily and Sleep Peacefully

So the next time you don’t feel motivated to exercise, remind yourself of the sleep-related benefits it offers. So hit the gym and sleep like a baby! But, if your deep sleep is disturbed by a snoring partner, you can prevent such interruptions by using an anti-snoring solution like Smart Nora to help you sleep peacefully. 


Smart Nora, a small and smart device with intuitive controls, detects snoring sounds and gently moves the pillow to stop them. With Smart Nora, you don’t have to put anything on your face or mouth, helping you sleep comfortably and enjoy snore-free nights.

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