Exercise, Sleep and Weight Gain
Americans are learning how important sleep is to our health and daily performance. Yet a 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found roughly 43 percent of Americans report that they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep!
Insomnia is when you find it hard to fall asleep; stay sleeping; or the quality of your sleep is poor and this causes daytime impairment (such as fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbance and decreased performance).
Studies have shown that poor sleep affects hormones that regulate hunger, and that fatigue leads to poor food choices and decreased physical activity.
Exercise does all sorts of good!
Exercise can be one of the most helpful behaviors to help you sleep. Research has shown that regular exercise, both cardiovascular and resistance training are associated with better quality of sleep and lower risk of insomnia.
Exercise triggers an increase in body temperature and in turn a post-exercise decrease in temperature that promotes falling asleep. It has been shown that some who suffer insomnia have impaired nighttime temperature regulation; exercise can help mimic this normal response. Studies also have indicated that exercise can affect the hormones linked to anxiety, helping to reduce it, which in turn helps us sleep.
For the best results, try to get in at least 150 minutes per week of cardiovascular exercise and twice weekly sessions of resistance training. It’s also best if you can complete your exercise about two hours before bedtime, especially if you’re doing high-intensity exercise.
Be sure to see your doctor for unresolved sleep issues. Lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise can be effective ways to help with insomnia.
“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.” - Jean-Pierre Barrel, D.O.
Cindy Kugler, MS, Bryan Lifepointe exercise physiologist