Exercising several times a week might be the key to a long and wholesome life – but it’s also a central part of a healthy sleep routine.
Clocking up the miles, pumping iron and working up a sweat in the gym can significantly improve the onset of sleep and the subsequent quality of a night’s rest.
A study by scientists at Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, revealed that people suffering from sleep deprivation can improve the quality of their rest by exercising three or four hours before hitting the sack.
The research found that chronic insomniacs who exercised four times a week at 75 per cent of their maximum heart beat for up to 40 minutes reported a significant improvement in their condition – and that quality time in bed went up by 1.25 hours for those also taking steps to improve other aspects of their sleep hygiene. This increase in quality bedtime hours can leave the sleeper feeling healthily refreshed and full of fizz for the day ahead.
A number of reasons have been proposed for exercise’s effect on insomniacs’ sleep patterns, including the rise and subsequent fall in body temperature caused by the activity resulting in tricking their circadian rhythms into thinking it’s time for bed.
So the message is clear, if you regularly have trouble sleeping, then go to the gym and work up a sweat a few hours before hitting the sack.