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Sleep and Exercise

How Physical Activity Affects Your Sleep Quality

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Sleep is an essential aspect of our daily routine, and getting a good night’s sleep is vital for our overall health and well-being. Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, getting sufficient sleep is one of the fundamental pillars of a healthy lifestyle. In this article, we will discuss how physical activity affects our sleep quality and provide some tips on how to optimize our exercise routine for better sleep.

The Science of Sleep

Before we delve into the relationship between sleep and exercise, let’s take a quick look at the science of sleep. Sleep is a complex physiological process that involves several stages, including non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During NREM sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates itself, while REM sleep is essential for cognitive function and emotional regulation.

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How Exercise Affects Sleep Quality

Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, increase sleep duration, and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Exercise helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can interfere with our sleep.

However, the timing of our exercise routine is critical when it comes to sleep. Exercise releases endorphins and raises our body temperature, which can make it difficult to fall asleep if done too close to bedtime. Therefore, it is recommended to finish your exercise routine at least three hours before bedtime.

Types of Exercise for Better Sleep

Not all exercises are created equal when it comes to improving sleep quality. Here are some types of exercise that have been shown to be beneficial for sleep:

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, is an excellent way to improve sleep quality. Aerobic exercise increases oxygen consumption, improves cardiovascular function, and reduces stress and anxiety, all of which contribute to better sleep.

Resistance Training

Resistance training, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, can also improve sleep quality. Resistance training helps to build muscle, which can increase metabolism and improve overall health. This, in turn, can contribute to better sleep.


Yoga is a form of mind-body exercise that has been shown to improve sleep quality. Yoga helps to reduce stress and anxiety and promotes relaxation, making it an excellent option for improving sleep quality.

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Tips for Optimizing Your Exercise Routine for Better Sleep

Here are some tips for optimizing your exercise routine for better sleep:

Set a Regular Exercise Schedule

Setting a regular exercise schedule can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality. Try to exercise at the same time each day, preferably in the morning or early afternoon.

Avoid Intense Exercise Before Bedtime

As mentioned earlier, intense exercise can interfere with sleep if done too close to bedtime. Therefore, it is recommended to finish your exercise routine at least three hours before bedtime.

Create a Relaxing Pre-Bedtime Routine

Creating a relaxing pre-bedtime routine can help to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Try to avoid stimulating activities such as watching TV or using electronic devices before bedtime. Instead, try reading a book or taking a warm bath.

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In conclusion, regular exercise is essential for our overall health and well-being, including sleep quality. Aerobic exercise, resistance training, and yoga are all excellent options for improving sleep quality. However, the timing of our exercise routine is critical when it comes to sleep. By following the tips mentioned above, we can optimize our exercise routine for better sleep and enjoy the many benefits of a good night’s rest.


  1. Does exercise help with sleep apnea? Yes, exercise can help improve sleep apnea
  1. How much exercise do I need to improve my sleep quality? The recommended amount of exercise for adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, combined with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week.
  2. Can evening exercise affect sleep quality? It depends on the individual and the type of exercise. Intense exercise close to bedtime can interfere with sleep, while moderate exercise earlier in the day can improve sleep quality.
  3. Can exercising in the morning help me sleep better at night? Yes, exercising in the morning can help regulate your circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality, as long as it is not too close to bedtime.
  4. What other lifestyle factors can improve sleep quality? In addition to exercise, other lifestyle factors that can improve sleep quality include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and managing stress and anxiety.

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