Sufficient sleep and the right amount of exercise make us healthier and more productive. Find out here how you should structure your training session in order to sleep really well!
Table of Contents
- How does exercise affect sleep?
- The decisive factors
- The right time
- The right intensity
- The main thing is to move
1. How does exercise affect sleep?
Good sleep is important so that we can start the next day fresh and productive. Those who exercise regularly improve their sleep quality. Regular exercise has a positive effect on falling asleep and, according to a recent study, even improves sleep quality by up to 65%!
Especially those who only occasionally or If you have very slight problems falling asleep or staying asleep, you can benefit from moderate and regular physical activity. Even a 30-minute sporting activity that takes approx. Exercised 4 hours before going to bed has a positive effect on sleep behavior. Smartsleep founder Dr. came to these results. Markus Dworak in a scientific study that he carried out at the German Sports University in Cologne. The test subjects fell asleep more quickly in the nights after exercise, had a higher proportion of deep sleep and generally improved sleep quality. Sport and sleep have a healthy relationship.
The reason for the positive effects is primarily the positive effects of physical activity on the metabolism and the messenger substances in the muscles and brain. But when is exercise really beneficial for sleep?
2. The decisive factors for sleep-promoting sport
#1 The right time
In order to have a positive effect on sleep behavior, the timing of exercise is crucial. Exercise and exertion stimulate the cardiovascular system and metabolism and have a positive and even stimulating effect on our nervous system. Intensive exercise shortly before going to bed is therefore not advisable and can have a negative effect on falling asleep.
Sports scientists at ETH Zurich evaluated 23 studies. Their result: Anyone who trains intensively less than an hour before going to bed actually runs the risk of taking longer to fall asleep and getting less sleep.
For an acute positive effect on sleep, moderate training sessions 2-4 hours before going to bed are recommended. Those who exercise regularly also generally have better sleep patterns. If you train regularly, sports sessions in the morning or mid-morning are also useful.
Tip: Do intensive training sessions in the morning or mid-morning and then relax in the last hour before going to bed in the evening.
#2 The right intensity
Severe stress puts a strain on us mentally and physically and therefore requires a longer recovery period. The closer the sporting activity is to the time you go to bed, the lower the intensity should be so that your body and mind can relax and fall asleep relaxed.
Moderate endurance training, such as cycling, jogging or walking, are ideal for being active in the evening and improving the quality of sleep at night. However, intensive strength training should be avoided. Competitive team sports also stimulate the body too much in the evening hours and have a negative effect on falling asleep and the quality of sleep.
Tip: In the evening, go for a moderate jog or a relaxing yoga session.
3. The main thing is to keep moving
Ultimately, the most important thing for our health and sleep is that we are active at all. We can contribute to our health and good sleep even with short or low-intensity exercise sessions, because “a good combination of sleep, exercise and a healthy diet are not only the central building blocks for physical performance, but also for health and well-being.” says sleep expert Dr. Markus Dworak
Sleep promotes regeneration and athletic performance, while regular exercise improves sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep
Medium-intensity sporting activity a few hours before going to bed has a positive effect on falling asleep, sleep quality and the proportion of deep sleep
The best time for more intensive sports sessions is in the morning and mid-morning, while moderate endurance sports should primarily be done in the evening before going to bed
Alexandra Kredlow, Michelle C. Capozzoli, Bridget A. Hearon, Amanda W. Calkins, Michael W. Otto; “The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review” in Journal of Behavioral Medicine issue 3/2015. Link
Jan Stutz, Remo Eiholzer, Christina M. Spengler: Effects of Evening Exercise on Sleep in Healthy Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis in Sports Medicine, Issue 2/2019. Link
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