By Natalie Nix, Personal Trainer
March is sleep awareness month. An activity that should be enjoyable and restful is the exact opposite for a lot of people.
The National Sleep Foundation is an excellent resource for all things sleepy! They regularly perform polls to collect data and in 2013 performed a poll regarding sleep and exercise. Out of the people who reported that they did not exercise regularly only 56% reported to sleep “fairly good/very good.” In the group that reported to participate in regular light intensity exercise that percentage went up to 76%, moderate exercises were at 77%, and vigorous exercisers were at 83%. Clearly the more you exercise the better you sleep! The poll did not find a significant difference between the quality of sleep when exercise was performed within four hours of bedtime or more than four hours before bedtime, good news for late night gym goers.
51% of the vigorous exercisers also reported not having trouble staying enthusiastic about getting things done during the previous two weeks. This should make sense. The better you sleep the more energy you have and the better mood you will be in during your day. We have all experienced bad days that were the result of a bad night’s sleep.
(National Sleep Foundation. “2013 Sleep in America Poll: Exercise and Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, National Sleep Foundation, 20 Feb. 2013, sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/RPT336%20Summary%20of%20Findings%2002%2020%202013.pdf.)
Regular moderate to vigorous exercise is tip number one to get a better night’s sleep!
Other ways to help promote good sleep are below:
- Limit your caffeine intake especially later in the day
- Meditate to help your body relax
- Invest in a good, comfortable mattress, sheets, blankets and pillows
- Reduce or eliminate screen time before bed