Can Exercise Improve Your Sleep?


We spoke in the previous video on how sleep
can improve your gains, but does it work vice versa? Can your gainz improve your sleep? We can go on for days talking about how important
sleep is, but the fact of the matter is that for many people, getting quality sleep, let
alone fall asleep in the first place, is much harder than we think. Exercise is great for a host of health benefits,
such as improving heart health with cardio and HIIT, to improving overall strength with
resistance training. And time and time again it’s been shown that
exercise will also help with getting more shut-eye at night. But for those of you that need a bit more
convincing, as if you already need more reasons to exercise, here’s some very real and clear
evidence of the magical sleeping aid we call gainz. First, understand that to invoke sleep, our
body follows a near 24-hour cycle known as the circadian rhythm. Based on different cues and signals, this
rhythm knows when to tell you when it’s time to go night night. One way in doing so is by raising body temperature. Through the circadian cycle, your body slowly
increases in heat, reaching its highest temperature at night right before sleep. This, along with the lack of light, signals
the body to increase the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. People struggling to sleep can use exercise
as a way to actively increase body temperature in hopes to drive this signal. On top of that, a byproduct of burning more
energy with exercise is raising levels of adenosine, another hormone responsible for
making you feel tired and sleepy. Another pesky thing that inevitably makes
it harder to sleep is age. With age, the responses to sleep signals and
the circadian cycle slows down. As we saw, exercise can help with that silly
circadian guy and it does not discriminate with age. In fact, a 6-month long study of elderly individuals
partaking in a resistance training program not only saw a 38% improvement in sleep quality
based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, but the folks even saw an awesome 52% increase
in upper body strength. Sleep better AND open pickle jars easier? That… that’s a win-win! Oh, and in case exercise alone is not good
enough as you grow older, another study showed that engaging in wieght training, walking,
and more social activities improved sleep for older invididuals better than doing any
of the three alone. And for people that have the most trouble
sleeping, like people with chronic insomnia, exercise has undoubtedly shown to improve
sleep. A study showed that as little as one exercise
session was able to not only help people suffering chronic insomnia sleep faster, but also sleep
longer. The exact reason why is not fully known, but
possible reasons are one, the link to body temperature and the circadian rhythm as discussed
before, and two, exercise can lower anxiety and depression symptoms, which is something
that many with chronic insomnia suffer as well. Sleep better and be in a better mood. As far as the type of exercise, it seems that
any type will undoubtedly improve sleep. We know resistance training improves sleep
based on earlier studies and might make you rip a few sleeves. But studies show that, yes, cardio improves
sleep as well. A representative study of over 2600 people
of all ages performig at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense exercises,
including cardio, on average reported a 65% improvement in sleep. They even felt less sleepy during the early
hours of the day! This is even more true for people with insomnia,
as studies showed that low intensity exercises are much more effective than higher intensity. And the time you exercise matters, too. When you exercise in the morning, and especially
outdoors, you’ll come in contact with more sunlight, which is a signal to the circadian
cycle to increase wakefulness and lower sleep-inducing melatonin levels. That means by working out early, you’ll
feel more energetic throughout your day. Other studies have shown that you can also
benefit from working out in the afternoon because at this time, you will be at your
strongest. And you might have heard that working out
at night will make your sleep worse, but luckily, that’s not true. A study from the Journal of Sleep Research
found that 35 minutes of exercise 2 hours before sleep did slightly increase heart rate
during sleep, but it had no effect on sleep quality. In fact, exercise at night might help you
sleep better by first raising your core body temperature and then quickly cooling you down,
which is something that happens when you sleep. So choose a time to workout that’s best
for you. At the end, exercise at any time will be better
than exercising no time. With 40% of the population having sleep troubles,
finding out ways to improve sleep is extremely important. And based on that, exercise seems like a no
brainer. So head to the gym, the park, the dance class,
the garage, wherever you might be working out, and go get your gainz and get your sleep. Good lifting and good night.

Daniel Yohans

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