How Does Exercise Affect Sleep?

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If you don’t like to work out, you won’t want to hear this: A regular workout schedule will help you sleep better at night.

In 2013, researchers conducting a small study found that people diagnosed with insomnia saw serious improvements in their sleep after four months of regular workouts.

“We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality,” Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital said in an article for Johns Hopkins Medicine. “But there’s still some debate as to what time of day you should exercise. I encourage people to listen to their bodies to see how well they sleep in response to when they work out,” she adds.


One school of thought is that exercise tires out both your body and mind, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. But everyone’s relationship to sleep and exercise is likely different.

The American Heart Association says that the optimal time for working out really depends on the individual. For some people, a late-night workout session may elevate their body temperature and interfere with their sleep/wake cycle — but others may experience no such issues. Furthermore, the type of exercise you do may not matter, either.


So, there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription of a specific exercise or time of day that will guarantee you a better night’s’ sleep on the regular. But what all the experts can agree on: If you’re sedentary, it’s time to get moving on a regular basis.

Can meditation help you sleep? Click here to find out. 

Obviously, regular exercise has tons of benefits other than sleep. And while it’s not an overnight fix, adding workouts to your life can lead to real sleep results.

“As we so often learn, there is no magic bullet or quick fix to solve sleep problems,” clinical psychologist Michael J Breus Ph.D. wrote in an article for Psychology Today. “But when it comes to sleep and exercise, there is a significant benefit to be gained by sticking with a regular routine and allowing the benefits to developing gradually. Slow and steady wins the race, in this case.”


Featured image: Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

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Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.

He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.

Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.

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