It has been concluded that people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.A study using a nationally represented sample of men and women between the ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week (the national guideline) provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity. After controlling for many factors (age, Body Mass Index, health status, smoking status, and depression), the feeling of being overly sleepy during the day compared to never feeling overly sleepy during the day decreased by 65 percent for participants meeting physical activity guidelines.
Similar results were also found for having leg cramps while sleeping (68 percent less likely) and having difficulty concentrating when tired (45 percent decrease). There was also a link found between regular physical activity and perceptions of sleepiness during the day. This suggests that participation in physical activity on a regular basis may positively influence one’s productivity at work or school.
Though research shows that exercise is important for one’s body and health, properly timing exercise is necessary to maximize the beneficial effects. For example, a good workout can make you more alert, speed up your metabolism and energize you for the day ahead, but exercise right before bedtime can lead to a poor night’s sleep. Sleep experts recommend exercising at least three hours before bedtime, and the best time is usually late afternoon. Exercising at this time is beneficial because body temperature is related to sleep. Body temperatures rise during exercise and take as long as 6 hours to begin to drop. Because cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset, it’s important to allow the body time to cool off before sleep.
In conclusion, physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep. There are trade-offs. It may be easier when you are tired to skip the workout and go to sleep, but it may be beneficial for your long-term health to make the hard decision and get your exercise. However, timing exercise properly is important as all the burpees in the world won’t make up for a night of tossing and turning!
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