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Lack of sleep is an epidemic taking America by storm. Research shows that seven out of ten adults do not receive the recommended seven hours of sleep each night putting them at higher risk for obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. While many turn to caffeinated products and sleeping pills, there are a few that hit the gym.
We’ve often heard physical activity helps us sleep better at night. Turns out, there is actually science to prove it.
Check out these three ways exercise improves your sleep:
If you struggle to fall and stay asleep each night, you might consider exercising.
One research study found that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise helped individuals with chronic insomnia fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Other studies indicate the time of day you work out can impact your sleep. In one particular study, participants who hit the gym in the afternoon reported fewer disruptions throughout the night, but participants who exercised in the morning fell asleep faster. Whether you are a early-bird or late night gym goer, your sleep will benefit from your sweat sesh either way.
The only warning from experts is to avoid working out too close to bedtime. The adrenaline released during the workout can make it difficult to wind down.
It’s been proven that physical activity results in longer periods of deep, slow-wave sleep. This type of sleep is where restoration, healing and regeneration occurs in the body. Slow-wave sleep is especially important for athletes looking to gain lean muscle mass. Without proper sleep, all the time put in at the gym goes to waste because your body doesn’t have time to build and repair muscle tissue.
Stress is a common thief of our sleep. That’s concerning considering seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA),
At night, cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone) should naturally decrease. But when you’ve had a stressful day, cortisol levels stay elevated. This has an adverse effect on your sleep quality.
However, exercise can help reverse these adverse effects. During physical activity the brain produces endorphins which are chemicals that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins greatly improve the ability to sleep, and thus reduce stress. Whether you have trouble sleeping at night or not, exercise is a great natural stress reliever.
As athletes, you should consider the mattress you are sleeping on to set yourself up for the best possible sleep each and every night. Believe it or not, your mattress can have a major impact on the quality of sleep you get and how you feel when you wake up. We are disciplined about our diet and exercise, we should be disciplined about our sleep habits too.
If you frequently experience restless nights you believe are caused by your mattress, take a look at the support it’s providing, if it puts pressure on your joints or how it keeps your spine in alignment.
PerformaSleep engineers their mattress with athletes in mind. Visit Mattress Advisor to see our review of their mattress and to learn more about how to find the best mattress for your needs!