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Exercise and Sleep Health

Exercise has an impact on many areas of health and well-being and sleep is an important one. There is a shared relationship between sleep and exercise. It is easier to sleep when you have done some physical activity during the day and easier to exercise when you have good sleep habits. Inadequate sleep can easily derail a workout routine due to fatigue and daytime sleepiness. It is an easy excuse to cut the workout short or skip it altogether. On the other hand, better sleep can give you the energy and focus to improve your performance and keep your risk of injury low.

Studies have shown that exercise improves sleep quality by increasing the total amount of sleep and the time spent in deep, restorative sleep. The restorative sleep period is an important time when human growth hormone is released and your body repairs itself. Exercise will physically wear you out, increasing your body’s need for a deeper sleep.

Stress can easily cause sleepless nights. Exercise can help boost your mood with endorphins and help control those stressful thoughts going through your mind all night. Symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea, such as fatigue and depression, have been shown to be reduced by regular exercise.

The best time of the day to workout can vary from one individual to another. Low to moderate intensity exercise such as walking or yoga have been shown to have little effect on falling asleep, if done close to bedtime. Higher intensity exercise can keep you energized for a while so you may want to give yourself enough time to cool down before bed. Pay attention to how exercise affects you, so you can determine the best workout time. Your body will not only thank you for the daily physical activity, it will also thank you for the restful nights.

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