Vigorous Exercise Linked to Good Sleep
People who exercise have reported a good night’s sleep almost every night compared to non-exercisers who have sleeping problems such as waking up during the night and difficulty in falling asleep almost every night. Likewise, vigorous exercisers have a two-fold likelihood of better sleep than non-exercisers. Moreover, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle might have a negative impact on the quality of sleep.
A sample of 1,000 adults was used in the 2013 Sleep in America® annual poll with ages ranging from 23 to 60 years old using the 2010 U.S. census data. The participants were grouped into four categories of activity levels: vigorous, moderate, light and no activity based on the self-reported measure of physical activity.
Self-described exercisers reported better sleep compared to self-described non-exercisers even if both had the same amount of sleep each night. Non-exercisers were found to be more very sleepy than exercisers and using a screening measure, nearly a quarter of non-exercisers qualify as “sleepy.”
According to Matthew Buman, PhD, poll task force member, it is normal to sometimes feel tired but if excessive sleepiness is a normal condition, then a doctor should be consulted, as it could be a sign of health problem such as sleep apnea (a potentially dangerous condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep).
On the other hand, spending less time sitting may improve health and quality of sleep. Those who sit for less than eight hours a day have reported having good sleep versus those who sat for more than eight hours. Also, those who exercise at any time of the day reported a better sleep, contrary to advice of not exercising close to bedtime.
Poll task force chair, Max Hirshkowitz, PhD says that exercise improves sleep and good sleep is essential for good health, happiness and productivity.
National Sleep Foundation. Exercise key to good sleep. ScienceDaily.