Regular exercisers sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnoea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
There has been some really good recent research looking at the effect of exercise on sleep. You may be aware that the World Health Organisation tells us that we must be doing at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, but for to promote good sleep, it really matters how hard you exercise.
The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality. It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.
Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. This isn’t a problem if you’re exercising in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed and it can interfere with sleep.
For better sleep, time your exercise right. Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. If you’re still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.
Why do some people struggle more than others to keep off the pounds? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shows research that addresses one of the many factors: Vision.
Sitting down for short periods of time can help us to rest and recuperate. But in modern times, we find ourselves sitting much more than we move around. In this short video, Matt Murat Dalkilinç explores the hidden risks of sitting down.