Physical activity to Overcome Insomnia

Insomnia is a problem that is becoming more common, but a problem that can be quickly fixed and you can sleep normally again. Insomnia occurs very often nowadays full of responsibilities, stress, and a fast lifestyle.

The fastest and easiest cure for insomnia is physical activity, which in addition to improving your sleep, will also improve your health.

Physical activity to overcome insomnia

There are a number of health benefits to daily and regular physical activity.

Whether it is walking, running, cycling or weight training, such physical activities are extremely beneficial and have a positive effect on our mental and physical health.

However, day-to-day responsibilities are sometimes a hindrance and take away from the time we could spend exercising.

Therefore, many people have an irregular and non-uniform schedule when practicing physical activity.

Additionally, some people prefer to exercise early in the morning, while others prefer to exercise later in the day or even in the evening.

But what happens to our body when we exercise at different times of the day and more specifically, how can exercise affect our sleep? What determines whether exercise will positively or negatively affect our sleep?

The answers to these questions follow in today’s article.

How does exercise affect sleep?

As mentioned, exercise is one of the healthiest habits we can have to improve our sleep and, of course, our overall health.

In addition to improving sleep, which we will discuss below, exercise can also contribute to:

  • better regulation of blood sugar,
  • blood pressure and triglyceride levels;
  • better weight management;
  • improve mood;
  • better physical fitness and fitness;
  • stronger bones
  • improved mobility
  • flexibility

The indirect impact of physical activity on sleep quality

In addition to these positive effects, exercise can very successfully and indirectly help the quality of sleep.

Exercising at a moderate or more intense pace, for example, can help with better weight management, which in turn can improve sleep for many as it will reduce or eliminate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition that is quite common and causes momentary obstruction in breathing which in turn causes awakening and thus disrupts sleep.

Interestingly, people are often unaware and do not remember this frequent awakening at night. However, they also feel tired and not well-rested when they wake up the next day.

It is estimated that as many as 60% of cases of obstructive sleep apnea are due to being overweight.

This is just one example of the indirect effect that exercise has on sleep quality.

Because physical activity improves our overall health, its indirect effects are actually enormous.

Direct effects of exercise on sleep

The main reasons why exercise is considered beneficial for sleep are:

  1. the secretion of hormones during exercise (endorphins) that contribute to reduced anxiety,
  2. stress and better mood,
  3. as well as additional physical fatigue.

Physical activity is thought to improve the quality of sleep, sleep time, and time spent in the deepest stages of sleep – thanks to the reparative effects of sleep.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways that exercise affects sleep is through the physical fatigue it causes.

This contributes to an improved and increased need for sleep.

The body needs time for rest and reparation, and this can come only through sleep.

Combined with reduced anxiety and reduced stress, which are also benefits of exercise, it is easier and more effective to fall asleep.

What exercises are best for us to sleep better?

Aerobic or so-called cardio exercises are considered to be particularly effective exercises in this regard.

Such exercises and types of physical activity are even recommended as a way to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.

A U.S. study included 55- to 84-year-olds.

Of the respondents, 52% stated that they practice some kind of physical activity three or more times a week, and 24% reported that they exercise less than once a week.

Research has shown that respondents in this second group often slept less than 6 hours, had lower sleep quality, had more difficulty falling asleep, and had a higher number of sleep-related disorders, such as insomnia.

Another study from 2013 included respondents aged 23 to 60 years and focused mainly on the effects that exercise has on sleep.

About 80% of respondents who regularly practiced moderate to more intense exercise reported having very good or relatively good quality sleep.

Of the respondents who did not practice physical activity, only 56% reported having quality sleep.

Respondents who exercised regularly also reported that they managed to get more sleep during the workweek.physical activity to overcome insomnia

How does exercise at night affect sleep?

This issue has been the subject of much serious debate and research over the years.

Traditional recommendations for maintaining sleep hygiene say that intense workouts that are 3 or fewer hours before bedtime can lead to poor sleep quality.

This is mainly due to the accelerated pulse, body temperature, and elevated levels of adrenaline caused by physical activity.

However, according to some studies, the results are the opposite. These studies show just the opposite and they did not find serious negative effects of exercise just before bedtime.

Research has shown that people who exercise around 8 pm or later still fall asleep quickly.

They also spend enough time in the deep phase of sleep and the next day they wake up rested and fresh.

The same was confirmed for those people who exercise between 16:00 and 20:00.

This suggests that while exercise time is a personal preference that depends on responsibilities and leisure time, for some people exercising at night does not cause any sleep problems.

However, there are exceptions in this regard, so exercise that is quite intense, just an hour before bedtime, can have a negative effect.

It is recommended that the training in the evening should not be too intense, and such training that is of stronger intensity should be left for earlier in the day.

Of course, such recommendations are general and may not apply to everyone.

If you have trouble falling asleep after an evening workout, it may be best for you to change the term, ie you should practice it earlier in the day.

How does sleep affect exercise?

The role that sleep has on our physical activity is still being explored, and most research focuses on comparing the frequency of exercise in people with sleep disorders and people with healthy sleep habits.

But most of these studies have shown that those who sleep less or have poor sleep quality are also mostly less physically active.

Of course, personal preferences also play a part.

Thus, people who wake up earlier in the morning are more likely to exercise during the day than people who sleep late or are more active at night.

Additionally, some studies suggest that physical activity may even influence these preferences and, over time, change our circadian rhythm.

It is believed that even one night with bad and insufficient sleep can make us skip exercise.

This is both logical and expected because insufficient and poor quality sleep means fatigue, drowsiness, lack of energy, and so on.

Good sleep hygiene is quickly and obviously perceived and affects the quality and frequency of physical activity.

read more: What is Better Quantity or Quality of sleep?