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The Value of Regular Exercise for a Better Night’s Sleep

Exercising and sleeping habits have had a complicated relationship over the years. Those that haven’t had a good night’s sleep in the past while may complain that they are too tired to exercise. They can’t seem to find the energy or motivation to get up and do a quick workout. Regardless, a regular sleeping routine and exercise ritual both promote a healthier way of life.

Regular Exercise Routine = Regular Sleep Routine

If you happen to be part of the one-third of Americans who have trouble falling asleep each night, you may want to consider establishing a regular exercise routine. So we all know that exercise is good for us. It can help build bones and muscle; improve your heart’s health and blood pressure, lower stress and tension in the body, and even improve your mood. Perhaps most importantly, for you non-sleepers, it can make you feel more awake during the day and sleep more sound at night. Exercise will improve your sleeping habits and help you overcome insomnia.

Don’t expect immediate change and new-found rest if you are just beginning an exercise routine. Just like you wouldn’t develop huge arm muscles after lifting weights for one day, the same goes for your sleep habits. It’s going to take commitment, but an every night’s good rest is worth it.

On the other end of the spectrum, getting a good night’s sleep can help you regulate your health, weight and mood. Those that suffer from a regular deprivation of sleep may inhibit their ability to lose weight. In a study done by the University of Chicago, researchers found that not getting enough sleep will actually promote obesity.

Obesity and Sleep Apnea

More and more obese Americans are losing precious oxygen to their brain during a night’s sleep. The airways become blocked, somewhere between 10 seconds or more, from producing oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. It becomes a vicious cycle: those who don’t exercise and become obese lose more and more sleep, and not sleeping will increase obesity. Night time breathing habits or bad snoring episodes need to be taken seriously. If you know of someone or happen to be that someone that seems to be going through these episodes, you should start immediately towards improving yours or their life.

There are simple tests that you can take to see if you suffer from sleep apnea. Most people who think they may have it, do, so it’s important to make lifestyle changes today.

How Do I Get Started?

Now is the best time for you take your life back and start enjoying sleep and better health. Ben Franklin wasn’t far off when he said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” The Mayo Clinic suggests a five step process to get started with your own personal fitness program:

  • 1 – Assess your fitness. How in-shape (or better yet, out-of-shape) are you? Keep track of where you are with regards to weight, body mass, and even flexibility. You’ll need to these to help you monitor your progress (see #5).
  • 2 – Design your fitness program. Exercise every day with a balanced routine that will help you hit any goals that you may have.
  • 3 – Assemble your equipment. Make sure you have the right shoes, clothing, and/or exercise equipment to get you started, or have a gym or place that you can work out.
  • 4 – Get started. You don’t need to run 5 miles your first day and then each day after that. Get creative with your options (see step #2) and listen to your body. If you need a break, take a break. Don’t push yourself too hard.
  • 5 – Monitor your progress. Take a look at your initial assessment six weeks later and then update it every three to six months following your original start-up date. Be proud of your goals and create new ones with each assessment.
  • Don’t push yourself to a limit that you can’t stand or one that seems to be de-motivating you. Make an exercise routine that is fun for you to partake in, and one that you will begin to look forward to.

    When Should I Exercise?

    One of the most important things to understand when it comes to exercising to help you sleep better at night is to know when you should exercise each day. The science behind this is that when you exercise your body temperature rises as opposed to when you are falling asleep, your temperature will decrease. Make sure that you are not exercising before you “hit the hay.” Not only will this discourage your sleeping routine, it can leave your body super motivate for the entire night – aka no sleep for you. Many people think that if you do strenuous exercise, your body will be so tired that you will fall immediately asleep, but this is not the case.

    Wake up an hour earlier than you do now and exercise. (Wake up? I thought this was helping me sleep more!) The exercise you do in the morning will help your mood, relieve any stresses, and also help to stimulate your body, mind, and muscles for the day. A morning exercise ritual can also reinforce your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. You should also increase your time in the daylight. Spending some time outside of your exercise routine in natural light can help to increase your body’s production of melatonin, a natural sleep agent.


    You can create a regimen of exercise that is easy to do that will improve your health and sleep habits. It may take a small amount of effort, but in the end will be better for your life and well-being. Avoid the sleep apnea epidemic and take back the comfort of a good night’s sleep.