Impaired sleep is a major public health concern (Kovacevic et al., 2018). It is associated with occupational errors and an increased risk for a range of chronic diseases contributing to future morbidity and mortality (Kelley & Kelley, 2017). However, exercise proves to be an effective non-pharmacological intervention (Kovacevic et al., 2018). It is low-cost and readily available. (Kelley & Kelley, 2017; Kovacevic et al., 2018). Sleep disorders are more closely associated with sedentary people than those who are physically active (Wang & Boros, 2021).
What exercise intensity and duration should you follow to reap the greatest benefits?
Chronic resistance exercise improves sleep quality and quantity (Kovacevic et al., 2018). However, when combined with aerobic exercise it is shown to improve all components of sleep (Kelley & Kelley, 2017; Kovacevic et al., 2018).
Don’t be startled by the term ‘chronic exercise’!
Following the current guidelines for exercise (30 minutes per day, four time per week) can also help you reap these benefits (Kelley & Kelley, 2017). Structured exercise, such as yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi sessions also works, particularly in the 18-30 year-old age group (Wang & Boros, 2021). For those of you who are not particularly fond of these forms of exercise, simply walking for at least twenty minutes a day can elicit these improvements (Wang & Boros, 2021).
So don’t wait around!
Take a break. Take a walk or enrol in that Pilates class today.
Kelley, G. A., & Kelley, K. S. (2017). Exercise and sleep: a systematic review of previous meta-analyses. Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/jebm.12236
Kovacevic, A., Mavros, Y., Heisz, J. J., & Fiatarone Singh, M. A. (2018). The effect of resistance exercise on sleep: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. In Sleep Medicine Reviews (Vol. 39). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2017.07.002
Wang, F., & Boros, S. (2021). The effect of daily walking exercise on sleep quality in healthy young adults. Sport Sciences for Health, 17(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-020-00702-x