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Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Best Time to Exercise for Deep Sleep

The Best Time to Exercise for Deep Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is one of life's great secrets.
Spending time relaxing, practicing good sleep hygiene, and fueling your body properly can help, but trying too hard to get good sleep might make things ten times worse. However, if there's one thing that can make a difference in the quality of your sleep, it's exercise. Not only can it make you feel more tired - increasing your sleep drive - but it can also lead to physiological changes that make sleep easier.

Sleep expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, author of several books, states, "Physical movement helps us produce the chemical adenosine, which promotes drowsiness and allows melatonin to work more effectively."

Dr. Ramlakhan further explains, "The accumulation of adenosine levels is the trigger to stop the production of adrenaline and other stimulating hormones and initiate the necessary biochemical changes for sleep."

One of the top three current motivators for exercising more is the desire for better sleep, according to the latest index from Nuffield Health in the UK. The British expert points out that many people are looking for ways to improve their sleep through healthy habits. But what is the best form of exercise to enhance sleep? And what should an appropriate sleep-friendly exercise routine look like?

Dr. Ramlakhan clarifies that exercising for sleep doesn't mean you have to engage in intense workouts on your deserved rest days just to sleep better at night. In fact, the best form of movement for napping may not be cardio at all.

A study conducted in 2022, published in the journal of the American Heart Association, compared aerobic, resistance, and combined exercises to find the best for improving sleep. They found that sleep duration, efficiency, and quality were significantly higher in the group that performed resistance exercises only. Specifically, those who did resistance exercises slept on average 40 minutes longer per night, compared to an approximately 23-minute increase in the sports group, and 17 minutes in the combined exercise group. While the research confirms that any exercise is better than none for sleep, the reason resistance training is preferable is that the body secretes hormones indicating tissue damage and encourages the body to get better sleep for proper recovery.

According to the British website "Style," it's important to remember that you don't need to "kill" yourself with weightlifting to sleep more. Ramlakhan says, "You don't have to do large amounts of intense activity to reap the benefits, just moving around every hour or so throughout the day is beneficial."

What is the Best Time to Exercise?

Regarding the best time of day to exercise for deep sleep, Dr. Ramlakhan states, "Naturally, your blood pressure should drop by up to 20 percent at night. However, immediately after exercise, it can rise, making it difficult for you to relax."

On the other hand, exercising early in the day helps lower stress hormone levels - adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol - which have an anti-hypertensive effect (lowering blood pressure).

Dr. Ramlakhan added, "The production of endorphins during and after exercise also generates a happiness factor that can have an additional effect of lowering blood pressure to help us sleep."

The expert concluded, "Let's not forget that the relationship between sleep and exercise works both ways. The magic of your workout actually happens when you sleep; this is when muscles recover and rebuild themselves stronger. In fact, studies suggest that lack of sleep actually leads to muscle loss."
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