2. It improves Your Sleep
When we exercise, we sleep better too, and not just because we’re physically exhausted! (Although that is a factor, since exercise depletes our energy levels in the short term, making deep, restorative sleep so good for recuperation.) Studies have shown that exercising regularly also helps us sleep better because of the impact on the brain of the rise and then fall in body temperature during and after exercise.
It’s thought that we can experience this benefit of exercise regardless of whether we perform aerobic exercise or a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training, as long as we’re doing aerobic exercise. Doing strength training alone doesn’t appear to have the same positive effect on sleep.
This is good news for those of us that suffer with insomnia. One study, carried out in 2010 by the Department of Neurology at the Northwestern University of Chicago, found that regular, sustained exercise helped subjects with insomnia to sleep for longer and more deeply.
Not only that, it helped these subjects feel more awake and energised during the day. The benefits of this are endless, especially in terms of work and safety. The more alert we are during the day, the more productive we are, which helps boost confidence and self-esteem and the better able we are to maintain relationships with loved ones. We’re also less likely to have accidents or sustain injuries.
The effects of exercise on sleep are especially beneficial for older people, who tend to experience more problems achieving quality, restorative sleep. Studies show a significant improvement in sleep in those that performed some level of exercise on a regular basis.