Sleep is restorative for both the mind and the body. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m mentally tired” or “I’m physically exhausted”? Even in our own lives, we think of our mind and body resting in two separate ways. But the reality is, these systems are very intertwined.
A regular exercise routine can absolutely impact your sleep quality, quantity and overall relationship with sleep. The inverse is true, too. If you have exercise or health-related goals, sleep plays a big role in helping you achieve those goals. Working hard is crucial to reaching health goals, but rest and recovery aid in the process. If you have a strained relationship between exercise and sleep, there are ways you can get them back in sync and have them both work toward a common goal: overall health.
How Does Exercise Affect Sleep?
There are a few distinct, and noticeable ways that exercise can improve your sleep quality and quantity. While the effects may not be immediate, that’s the nature of these types of shifts. Exercise, sleep quality and health goals are usually a work-in-progress. How does exercise affect sleep? In the specific ways below:
Exercise Can Increase Sleep Duration
This connection is pretty straightforward. With a regular exercise routine, you’re using up so much energy that your body will naturally be tired at bedtime. If you have trouble falling asleep and winding down at night, a regular exercise routine can speed up that “falling asleep” process.
Consider if you’re a person that goes to bed at a specific time each night and tries to wind down, or if you go to bed because you’re actually tired. On a consistent exercise routine, your body will crave that rest time at night, helping you get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Exercise Can Decrease Stress And Anxiety
According to a study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the majority of adults with a stress-induced sleep problem experience it at least once per week, and more than half of adults experience it multiple times a week. The evidence is clear — stress and anxiety negatively impact our sleep quantity and quality.
Fortunately, a regular exercise routine can help you cope with stress and anxiety. Physical activity pumps out your brain’s feel-good hormones, called endorphins. These neurotransmitters help your body relax and decrease stress. Many people participate in yoga, running or other aerobic exercise to decrease their stress levels. Without carrying that built-up anxiety with you to bed, you can wind down and fall asleep quicker.
Exercise Can Help You Avoid Restless Leg Syndrome
Many people suffer from restless leg syndrome — and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A crawling, tingling, uncomfortable feeling in a person’s legs, usually during the night. Your legs just feel like they need to be moving. If you don’t suffer from it, you can imagine how difficult it is to fall asleep with that constant sensation.
Restless leg syndrome can be caused by several underlying conditions, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you think there’s a significant issue. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome at night. But exercising too close to bedtime can actually intensify those symptoms.
How Sleep Impacts Performance
We can all attest to what it feels like when you don’t get enough sleep. Alertness suffers, as does your memory, and mood. Long-term, poor sleep quality can lead to greater health concerns related to your heart, blood pressure and mental state.
But what about your physical performance? If your body and mind aren’t well rested, your physical performance will not be at its best. But it’s more than just quantity—it’s quality of sleep that really matters.
Things that impact your sleep quality include your comfort, your bedroom environment, internal and external temperature, sleep position as well as sleep accessories. Sleep is such an important restorative process, but it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
If you’re not comfortable during the night, you won’t sleep well and if you don’t sleep well, the following day will be impacted negatively. This domino effect is something that impacts so many people—but it’s not impossible to fix.
A high-quality sleep system means high-quality sleep.
Your mattress only makes up about 70% of your overall sleep system—the other 30% of your comfort and sleep experience comes from the pillow. The good news is, both of these are highly customizable to an individual person (and their partner), ensuring high-quality sleep night after night.
Things like physical characteristics, conditions like back pain or joint discomfort, and your preferred sleep position are all taken into consideration when determining which sleep system is right for you. You don’t need to be a high-powered performance athlete to benefit from a great night’s sleep.
If you’re not finding a fully restorative night’s rest for your mind and body, explore the bedMATCHⓇ process and Mattress Warehouse and shop the BEDGEAR line of performance bedding and get back to peak performance.