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Does exercise really improve sleep?

Does exercise really improve sleep?

If you want to fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested then you need to get moving! As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep, especially when done on a regular basis. Exercisers may also reduce their risk for developing inconvenient sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Research shows that people who exercise are significantly more likely to report sleeping well on most nights than people who are not physically active.


Physical activity improves sleep quality and sleep patterns and increases sleep duration. Exercise may also boost sleep in other ways, because it reduces stress and tires you out. Exercise can also help to lift your mood. It can strengthen circadian rhythms, promoting daytime alertness and helping bring on sleepiness at night. Early morning and afternoon exercise may also help reset the sleep wake cycle by raising body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later. It can be especially helpful if you are able to exercise outdoors and let your body absorb natural sunlight during the daytime hours.


Whilst working out vigorously too close to bedtime may over-stimulate the body, exercising at night doesn't interfere with everyone's sleep‚ it depends on the individual. So if you find that physical activity in the evening stimulates you too much, exercise earlier in the day. Don't be surprised if you don't see immediate changes in sleep quality, exercise may not have an instant impact on sleep, and may take several weeks or months to realise the full benefit.