A regular exercise routine can help most people to sleep better.
According to the Sleep Foundation, studies have shown that those who experience chronic insomnia and begin regular exercise can both fall asleep up to 13 minutes faster and stay asleep for 18 minutes longer.
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The organization said exercise causes a change in a person’s core body temperature, mimicking a similar temperature change that happens before a person falls asleep.
In addition, exercise may help to realign a person’s internal body clock – depending on the time of day a person exercises – as well as relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression that can hamper good sleep.
Ten to 15% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
While researchers continue to work to understand how physical activity impacts sleep, some forms of exercise are reportedly better than others in preventing insomnia.
The Sleep Foundation says studies have found that regular aerobic exercise for prolonged periods of time can improve the quality of sleep and moderate-intensity aerobic activities can decrease the severity of sleep-disordered breathing conditions like sleep apnea.
The foundation also notes that some studies suggest moderate-intensity aerobic exercise may improve sleep quality more than vigorous-intensity activities.
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise includes walking, water aerobics and bike rides up inclines, whereas vigorous-intensity aerobics include running, jogging, lap-swimming, intense biking and physically demanding sports like basketball and singles tennis.
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Running boosts serotonin, which may improve the brain’s ability to metabolize the hormone and regulate sleep.
Resistance exercise activities like lifting weights, push-ups, sit-ups and yoga are also important to improve different aspects of one’s physiological health.
Multiple studies have found that people with a regular exercise routine are less likely to have insomnia and sleep issues, though some people experience exercise-induced insomnia if exercising too close to bedtime.
That said, Johns Hopkins highlights that others are not impacted by exercise and the topic has been heavily debated.
The Cleveland Clinic’s Michelle Drerup said recent studies have found no evidence supporting the idea that evening exercise keeps people awake, but recommends people keep it at light to moderate intensity.
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The clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week
On the flip side, Sleep.org points out that good sleep helps to improve athletic performance, noting that the Stanford University men’s basketball team saw sprint times and shooting accuracy improve after enhancing their sleep quality.