Do you often find yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to get a good night’s sleep? Exercise might be the key to unlocking better rest! Research has shown that regular physical activity can help regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. As we celebrate World Sleep Day today (March 17th), we thought it would be helpful to explore the power of exercise for better sleep.

Exercise for reducing stress and boosting mental health

Lots of people will know that stress is a common factor contributing to sleepless nights. Therefore, countering stress should be one of the first tasks in trying to improve sleep. The great news is: exercise has shown to be an effective tool for reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation. By engaging in physical activity, the body releases endorphins that can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This significantly helps the ability to fall and stay asleep. In addition, regular exercise can lead to improved overall mental health and well-being. Working out has been shown to boost mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall quality of life, leading to a better quality of sleep as well.

Exercise as a natural sleep aid

Exercise has also been shown to be an effective non-pharma treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. In addition to reducing stress levels, exercise helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, but also helps with a more consistent sleep schedule and the so-called ‘internal clock’. But how does that work?

Being active is a natural way to promote better sleep without relying on medication or other sleep aids, such as valium or melatonin. When you exercise, your body temperature rises, and after you finish, it gradually cools down. This drop in temperature mimics the natural process that happens when your body prepares for sleep at night, and thus helps signal the body that it’s time to sleep. So, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, boosting the natural cooling down process by doing a workout a few hours before bed time, might truly help you fall asleep faster. It’s a nudge in the right direction, especially in times of stress or declined mental health.

The role of timing and consistency in exercise for better sleep

Consistency is key when it comes to exercise for better sleep. While a single workout can help you sleep better that night, the benefits are even greater with regular physical activity. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. It’s important to note that exercising too close to bedtime can actually have the opposite effect. Aim to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime. Why? Because exercise stimulates the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases alertness and can interfere with sleep if produced too close to bedtime.

Trouble finding consistency in your sports routine? Then we suggest trying a flexible sports membership like OneFit. OneFit is a platform that offers a variety of workout classes and activities to help people find the right exercise routine for their personal needs. The flexibility that OneFit offers makes finding that routine easier, and also way more accessible. Yoga one day, or HIIT the next? You are not bound to one single activity which prevents the boredom that could potentially kick-in when trying to set a consistent routine for sleep improvement.

Conclusion: Prioritise Exercise for Better Sleep

Concluding, exercise is a powerful tool for achieving better sleep. Whether you struggle with a sleep disorder or simply want to improve your overall sleep quality, regular physical activity can make a significant difference. As we celebrate World Sleep Day today (March 17th), why not prioritise exercise for better sleep and try out a new workout or activity? With the help of a flexible sports membership like OneFit, finding the right exercise routine has never been easier. This leads us to saying one last thing: “Night night, sleep tight!”

Not yet a OneFit member? Choose the plan that fits your exercising needs the most. You can already work out at our partners from €32.50 per month! Questions about OneFit? Check our FAQ.

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About the author
Rosan van der Tuuk