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Wake Up to the Importance of Exercise

Working Out Improves Sleep Patterns

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In fact, in a study on sleep patterns of adults aged 55 to 75 who were sedentary and troubled by insomnia, exercise was shown to play a key role. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine asked these adults to exercise 20 to 30 minutes every other day in the afternoon by walking, engaging in low-impact aerobics, and riding a stationary bicycle. The result? Time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and total sleep time increased by almost one hour.

What’s more, exercise offers many other mental benefits:
  • Reduces stress by helping to dissipate the lactic acid that accumulates in your blood
  • Sharpens your brain by increasing the amount of oxygen available
  • Eases built-up muscular tension
  • Strengthens and stimulates your heart and lungs
  • Stimulates your nervous system
  • Increases your production of endorphins— those little substances which create a sense of well-being and increase your body's resistance to pain
  • Stimulates release of epinephrine, a hormone that creates a sense of happiness and excitement
  • Increases deep sleep, as the brain compensates for physical stress
Shakespeare didn’t know about sleep studies when he wrote about "sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care," but it seems he did know one thing—there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep!
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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • I have no problem falling asleep, my challenge is waking in the wee hours. On days I exercise, I do tend to sleep better, not wake as often and have more energy the following day. Another great motivation to be active daily. Thanks for the great article. - 2/28/2014 3:44:27 PM
  • At night, I have no trouble falling asleep but do have problems staying asleep. - 10/29/2013 7:13:02 AM
  • Thank you for sharing. I will try some of these methods.
    - 9/30/2013 2:52:32 PM
  • Thanks for sharing - 8/30/2013 6:37:33 AM
  • Not always the case. I seem to go in cycles. . . . Recently on the 'not so much' sleep cycle . . . although I am working out and eating right . . . and meditating and relaxation . . . and taking melatonin. . . . hmmmm - 8/26/2013 4:27:30 PM
  • I'm sleeping better since I started exercising. I realize now that being totally sedentary was causing a build up of muscle tension. Also finding that just five minutes of gentle yoga before turning out the lights helps me fall asleep better. - 5/26/2013 11:30:26 PM
  • When I came home from the doctor and I was away from home fir three months I could not sleep good for the pain in my hip. So I started to exercise and change my eating habits. My hubby say to me alot oh you slept well last night. Because I would get up and let him sleep because he had to get up at five in the morning. But if it's going to rain I will not sleep goodbecause of the pain in my hip - 5/22/2013 7:29:21 AM
  • I've been working on getting to bed by 9p so I can get up at 3a do 30 min on the treadmill then get ready for work. I bring my meals with me everyday and try to keep it healthy. I work 12-13.5 hrs, try to do another 10-20 min on the treadmill, shower, and jump into bed. Right now I have no problem going to sleep. I do however try to delay by watching TV. I love my shows. I do get a little more sleep on the days I'm off. - 5/27/2012 11:41:41 AM
  • EMILYTEAGARDEN
    Due to a few years of big STRESSFUL situations ~ I started self-medicating by watching old movies on my pc. this led to lots of radiation and I couldn't turn them off ~ it felt like I was strapped to my couch.

    I Knew 6 hours of resulting sleep was horrible but found it so hard to change as now my adrenals were wired and got a second wind in the late evening.

    Answer to all in same boat: get Rescue Remedy Insomnia Spray. 2 tiny sprays in mouth and voila, I am yawning and go to bed to read about 8:30 to 9:30 pm and lights are out within 20 min. I sleep like a baby and I am turning my life around! so I can get up early and live my life, exercise, take a walk, yoga or just relax and be with me instead of the
    frantic treadmill of running late all day and running so very low on energy due to my past late nights and boucou radiation I got from late night pc movie viewing.

    try it! if it can work for me ~ surely it can work for anyone!

    Always maintain only a joyful mind - - Pema Chodrun
    Nell - 4/29/2012 10:56:56 AM
  • I like to sleep nine hours every night. - 1/3/2012 10:33:08 PM
  • ELLDOCKE
    I find it interesting that the older people in my life as a child were farmers/gardeners who could work me into the ground, but always got close to ten hours sleep. I, too, have had times in my life when I had to work in power naps because family and work responsibilities interfered with my sleep. However, with sleep, I am healthier, happier and calmer and my family likes me better. LOL - 7/30/2011 8:30:22 AM
  • HANI_IBRAHIM1
    Am sharing that we have a natural product made from milk to give you that deep sleep that we have been deprived of...with REM.
    Will be bringing in this product to the US in February 2012. My fb name is: Hani Ibrahim. Do contact me for further information. - 7/30/2011 7:59:05 AM
  • I am trying very hard to get a bit more sleep! I already get up at 5 o'clock to get ready for work, so I can't exercise before work. I always have to wait till I get home, which includes an hour of commuting in bad traffic. Between exercising, kids, husband, dinner, laundry, dogs...... sometimes it's tough to get to sleep at a good hour!! I think it's my biggest goal that I still need to reach. - 6/20/2011 1:15:25 PM
  • CAREYANNG
    I exercise at least 4-5 times a week, always before work. Which means I get up around 5:15 a.m and hit the gym. I am really having a lot of trouble falling asleep these past 2 weeks. I do have a major lifestyle change, seperating from my husband, but have maintained my strict workout routine.

    Any suggestions......
    .. I eat healthy (lost 78 lbs to date) and only drink caffeine early in the am. I'm open for any thoughts. :) thank you - 6/19/2011 9:39:45 PM
  • K_RENEE
    During my last 2 years in college, I suffered terribly from insomnia. I would get about 3 hours of sleep a night, and that would be that. After I graduated, I moved and I get about 5 hours now, but it's not restful sleep because it takes me so long to fall asleep and then I wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes I'm awake for the rest of the day after that.

    I have noticed that when I exercise, I am more tired, but sometimes I'm not sleepy!! Why does that happen??? Exercise is supposed to induce a more relaxed state so you can sleep better, right? Ugh, it's all so confusing and frustrating!! - 6/18/2011 9:04:53 PM

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