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Benefits of exercise for sleep quality

There are many reasons we all like exercising, but can it help with sleep quality? We've all heard how great it is for your brain and obviously, your body. But is there hidden benefits to exercise that we don't realise? Exercising generally gives us more energy throughout the day and studies show on the days the person had exercised, there was a noticeable difference in sleep quality. So here it is, the benefits of exercise for sleep quality...

Reduce stress and anxiety

As a nation, we're more stressed than ever and it really shows in our sleep quality. It's nothing new that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety but if stress is the cause of your sleep problems, a trip to the gym could really help you get more zzz's. Studies show that just 5 minutes of exercise a day can seriously reduce stress levels. Yoga is especially great for reducing stress and can be done anywhere, any time. If you struggle to sleep and you believe it's down to stress, try exercising more.

Helping with insomnia

Insomnia affects all of us at some point in our lives and isn't the easiest to treat. Insomnia can come in many forms including, trouble falling asleep and trouble to stay asleep. There's still a long way to go with exercise as a treatment for insomnia but studies so far have been positive. It's not an instant fix and people with insomnia generally notice the effects of exercising on their sleep over time. If you don't notice results immediately, try sticking at it for a few weeks. So far, studies have shown that there's a reduction in the severity of the sleep disorder and people notice a better quality of sleep.

How much should you exercise for better sleep?

There's no exact number because exercising for as little as 5 minutes a day has positive effects on sleep quality. But in general, for health, it's best to exercise for 150 minutes a week, so about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

When should you exercise for better sleep?

Exercising is great for helping you get to sleep if you do it at the right times. If you exercise just before you're about to head to bed, you might find yourself unable to fall asleep. Exercise sets off a bunch of chemicals that make us feel energised and alert which is not ideal for when you're settling down. Our body temperature starts to drop in the late afternoon which is what makes us feel drowsy around bedtime. A workout to close to bedtime will reverse that cycle and raise your body temperature again, causing you to miss out on some zzz's. To avoid this cycle, try and exercise at least 3-4 hours before you plan to sleep.

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