Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that causes a person to have low quality sleep. Research suggests regular exercise can help a person with insomnia have better quality sleep.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep.
In this article, we discuss whether exercise can help with insomnia. We also discuss the effects of the timing and intensity of exercise on sleep.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Some scientific research suggests exercise may help with insomnia.
For example, a
The review suggested that physical exercise improved sleep quality and reduced the severity of insomnia in study participants.
The analysis looked at aerobic exercise compared with mind-body exercise. Aerobic exercise aims to improve how the body uses oxygen. And mind-body exercise combines exercise with breathing control and different forms of meditation.
The authors concluded that both physical and mind-body exercise interventions resulted in the same extent of sleep quality improvements. This suggests that a person can try either type of exercise to help improve their sleep.
Physical aerobic exercises that may help improve sleep include:
Mind-body exercises use gentle exercise alongside coordination of the body. One example is yoga.
Some people believe that exercising too late in the day can disrupt a person’s sleep. However, research suggests this may not be the case.
Each workout ended 90 minutes before the participants went to sleep. The study concluded that moderate-intensity evening workouts did not affect the participants’ sleep.
There is no evidence that exercise can cause insomnia.
Some individuals claim that high intensity exercise close to bedtime can negatively affect sleep. However, some studies suggest the opposite.
Here are some frequently asked questions about exercise and insomnia.
Does a person need less sleep if they are physically fit?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least
There is little research into the amount of sleep people who are physically fit need. Physical fitness may also mean different things to different people. Factors include cardiac health, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.
One 2021 study asked 175 elite athletes how many hours of sleep they require in order to feel rested. Their answers suggested they needed an average of
However, these self-reported results come from a small sample size. This means more research is required to determine whether people who are physically fit require more or less sleep than the general population.
Learn about how much sleep a person may need.
Can high intensity exercise affect sleep?
Studies show that high intensity exercise may improve sleep quality.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. It can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep. Studies suggest that exercise may help improve sleep in people with insomnia.
People may wish to try physical aerobic exercises to help improve their sleep quality. These exercises include walking, running, swimming, and cycling.
Mind-body exercises, such as yoga, may also be effective at helping improve sleep quality.