Exercise and Sleep - They're Connected!
Exercise and sleep are intricately connected and both are important for our overall health. Getting regular exercise can have a positive impact our on sleep both in quantity and quality.
Regular exercise has been shown in many studies to:
- Reduce depression, anxiety and stress that frequently lead to difficulties in getting to sleep - or returning to sleep if you’ve woken up during the night.
- Release hormones and proteins that help regulate emotions and counteract anxiety and bad moods.
- Help provide a sense of routine and accomplishment that provides confidence in our ability to control depression and anxiety.
- Play a part in boosting deep sleep, the important sleep stage in restoration and recovery from your day.
- Help us fall asleep quickly - fighting one of the most common causes of sleeping problems.
Both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise have shown sleep benefits; incorporating both types seem to generate the best results. You’ll also see the best results when you exercise regularly over time as some effects might not be seen within just a few sessions.
Being fatigued due to lack of sleep can contribute to inactivity, mental sluggishness, worsened mood and can impede desire to exercise. If you can’t physically do cardio or weight training consistently, try something lower in intensity, such as walking or light yoga. These have been shown to benefit sleep and increase energy levels, too.
The link between sleep and exercise is clear. Starting an exercise program and progressing slowly can improve both the quality and quantity of sleep, as well as ease symptoms of anxiety and depression without (or with less) medication.