Cardio And Strength Training For Better Sleep | Research
I had recently requested the readers for suggestions to help me fall asleep faster and I am grateful to all the lovely people who gave me really good suggestions. Heartfelt thanks to you all!! Tarun has asked me to do some kind of workout each day as energy expenditure is needed so that I get tired and fall asleep faster at night. I have started including some kind of physical activity in my daily routine so that I don’t lay awake in bed at night. Yesterday I fell asleep by 11:15 pm and I feel that it is a good improvement! Yay!
I came to know that exercise and sleep help in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Fitness and sleep are known to complement each other very well. Countless studies say that sleep gives a person the energy to exercise and exercise helps one in sleeping soundly. Most studies have stressed on cardio until recently. Now the focus has shifted to resistance training.
To find out the impact of strength training on the quality of sleep, research was carried out by the Appalachian State University. The researchers asked the participants to visit their lab on 3 separate days at 7 am, 1 pm and 7 pm for a 30 minutes workout. The participants were asked to wear sleep trackers to bed.
The result of the study was as follows:
- Participants spent less time awake in bed on the days when they worked out in comparison to the days when they did not exercise.
- Something interesting was also found! People fell asleep really fast (almost in the half the time) when they did strength training in the morning i.e. 7 am rather than 1 pm or 7 pm in the evening.
The author of the study says that resistance exercise increases the resting rate of the heart resulting in high blood pressure; (temporarily) this makes it a little tough to fall asleep.
Talking about the sleep quality, it was found that participants who did strength training (lifted weights) at night had a more sound sleep. Lifting weights has a thermal effect. It warms you up internally the way a warm water bath does before you retire to bed. This thermal effect of strength training can explain why the participants had a really sound sleep. Lifting weights in the day will keep you awake longer in bed while lifting later in the day can help you sleep better. Isn’t it strange?
Aerobic exercises are better done first thing in the morning (say 7 am) as they are known to decrease the heart’s resting rate. According to prior research done it is said that the mornings are the best time to try a hand at aerobic exercises as it helps clear stress hormones in the early part of the day and it offers a better night’s sleep.
The last word:
Now after seeing the results of this study, exercise is great whenever it is done, it can be either resistance training or cardio. If you have sleeping problems or want to sleep better, you should be doing cardio in the morning and weight lifting during afternoon or early evening.
Exercising will definitely make one sleep better. So, if I do strength training in the morning I will sleep faster at night! Our sedentary lifestyle leaves a little scope for physical activity. So, working out is very important.
Planning to work out for better sleep?
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