The Matt Walker Podcast

# 39 - Sleep and Exercise Pt. 1

January 16, 2023 Dr. Matt Walker Episode 39
The Matt Walker Podcast
# 39 - Sleep and Exercise Pt. 1
Show Notes

Does exercise have an impact on the quantity and quality of your sleep? The National Sleep Foundation's annual poll found that individuals who exercised frequently (defined as three times or more a week) reported sleeping with a higher quality than those who exercised less than once a week.  Exercise has also been shown to increase the release of endorphins, which can improve mood and promote feelings of relaxation, both of which can contribute to better sleep.

As with most things, moderation is key. Overexertion can have negative effects on sleep, so it's important to find a balance that works for you. It's also important to consider the timing of your exercise as engaging in vigorous activity too close to bedtime may make it difficult to fall asleep. On the other hand, some research suggests that low-intensity exercise performed in the evening can actually improve sleep.

Exercise has been shown to lead to longer sleep duration in both healthy individuals and those with sleep disorders, and it may also lead to improved sleep efficiency. One study found that moderate intensity exercise led to a 65% improvement in sleep efficiency, while another found that high intensity exercise resulted in a 34% improvement.

In addition to these benefits, exercise may also lead to deeper stages of sleep and a decrease in the number of awakenings during the night. A meta-analysis of 13 studies found that exercise was associated with an increase in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, specifically NREM stage 3 sleep, which is the most restorative stage. 

It's important to note that the relationship between exercise and sleep is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The intensity, duration, and timing of exercise can all impact its effect on sleep. It's important to pay attention to your own body and its unique needs when it comes to finding the right balance of exercise and sleep. Additionally, the optimal amount and type of exercise for improving sleep may vary depending on a person's fitness level and individual preferences. 

It may be helpful to experiment with different durations and intensities of exercise to see what works best for you and your sleep patterns.

Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.

Today's podcast is supported by biochemical electrolyte drink company LMNT, and they are very kindly offering eight free sample packs when you purchase any one of their orders at is an electrolyte sports drink that I can get behind - it's created from the basis of science, and it has no sugar, no coloring, and no artificial ingredients – all qualities that are so important to maintaining your blood biochemical balance. If you want to give LMNT a try, just head on over to and get your eight free samples with your first purchase. 

Another sponsor this week is the good people at InsideTracker, and they are generously offering a special 25% off any one of their programs for anyone who uses the above link.  InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and also offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.

And, as always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.