Can You Improve Sleep Through Exercise?

There are a lot of reasons why you or a senior loved one may not be sleeping well: stress, anxiety, pain or illness, change in living situation, prescription medications, or a whole host of other factors. There is a seemingly even longer list of remedies for poor sleep, from diet changes to even more medication. But there is one proven technique to improve your ability to fall and stay asleep that is free, readily available, and comes with plenty of other health benefits. The solution is, of course, exercise.

Research shows that just 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise can improve sleep quality – time spent asleep and number of times woken in the night – by an average of 65%. That is a substantial improvement. The even better news is that 150 minutes is all that it takes over the course of a week. For most adults that can be found in a short walk, every day.

How does it work? When you go to sleep, your body’s temperature drops. It is one of the factors that tells your brain it’s time to sleep. When you exercise, you raise your body temperature – but after, your temperature drops back down even lower than before, encourage a good night’s rest in the evening.

Of course, once you get into the habit of exercising, it becomes even easier to stick with it because your sleep improves. As you’ll feel more rested each day, you’ll benefit from more energy to exercise. Thus, a very positive and healthy loop has been created!

As if there weren’t enough reasons to exercise already…