It has been known for years that exercise and sleep have a very important relationship, with one helping the other. Exercise makes you more alert, speeds up your metabolism and increases energy levels during the day, and reduces the time taken to get to sleep at night, while also aiding in sleep maintenance. An adequate amount of sleep then leads to improvements in mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. Maintaining at least 7-10 hours of sleep a night is especially important for athletes or people completing higher intensity exercise, as during sleep the body rebuilds damaged muscles and replenishes nutrients. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress hormone levels, increased fatigue levels and decreased ability for the body to convert stored energy to usable energy, which for athletes can lead to a poor focus and performance.
So how do I use exercise to help me sleep better?
Research seems to suggest that a moderate intensity exercise program, consisting of four to five 30-45 minute exercise sessions a week, performed in the afternoons, has a positive effect on sleep onset and sleep maintenance. In one particular nation-wide study, there was on average a 65% improvement in sleep quality in over 2,600 participants who participated in regular physical activity! Afternoon or early evening exercise sessions are optimal as they raise the body temperature slightly, causing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later.
If you would like more information on exercise and sleep, head to our Website www.absolutebalance.com.au. Absolute Balance also offers Health and Wellness Seminars providing education and resources to communities and businesses across Western Australia, if you would like more information on how to book a seminar on this topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alixe Luckins (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)
Corporate facilities Manager