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.
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