The relationship between exercise and sleep has been a long disputed one. For some, a 30-minute run may zonk you out for the next eight hours, but for others who suffer insomnia, it may take more than just one run to make you sleep better at night.
Scientists from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine recently conducted a study that measured the sleep-boosting effects of exercise. They concluded that the sleep-boosting effects that exercise provides might take longer to kick in for those that suffer from insomnia. The benefits will eventually come… but over a longer period of time, according to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
“After four months, adding 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, bumped up insomniacs’ sleep by about 45 minutes each night,” said Kelly Glazer Baron, a sleep psychologist who led the study. “That’s huge. It’s as large or larger an effect than what you see with [sleep] drugs.”
This study was performed on 23 women over the age of 55 that suffered from insomnia over a 16-week period. These women performed 30 minutes of exercises three or four times a week. The results when women exercised during one day didn’t correlate to how much sleep they got that same night, but how much they slept at night was directly linked to how much they exercised the next day. In other words, sleep was the driving force behind the exercise.
“Not sleeping well makes you not want to exercise,” Baron said. “But those are the days that you need to do it more. It will help you in the long run.”
Although this may be tough to get yourself motivated to workout when you suffer insomnia, over time, your sleep patterns can return to normal by finding that motivation to exercise when you’re tired. Baron suggests planning workouts in advance to keep it on your schedule. For those suffering from insomnia, she still recommends working out in the middle of the day. Reminding yourself by posting notes around the house that working out will help your sleep in the long run may be beneficial. The initial steps are the hardest, especially when getting the courage to get out of bed in the morning. Once you are dressed and heading out the door, there’s no turning back.
Not only will your sleeping patterns return to normal over time, working out in the morning will give you more energy throughout your day and allow you to feel better. There’s no worse feeling than dreading your exercise all day because you forgot to wake up in the morning. The benefits of exercising in the morning will cure more than sleeping problems in the long run. Get up, get moving, and better your life one run at a time!
Does exercise help you sleep better?