How Your Physical Activity Affects Your Sleep

We all know how working hard during the day can end up making us feel sleepier than usual at night, but did you know that the relationship between physical activity and sleep goes much deeper than that?

It’s not just physical activity affecting sleep, but the quality of sleep we get affects how physically active we can be during the day too. 

The better your sleep quality is, the more active and well rested you feel during the day. Make the mistake of not sleeping properly at night, and you’ll spend the rest of the day feeling like you’re just dragging your body along that refuses to cooperate. 

If you want to dig deeper into this strange equilibrium that we need to maintain, and to learn more about the relationship between sleep and physical activity, keep reading! 

What happens when we sleep? | The Economist by The Economist

The Right Posture 

The way you sleep throughout your life, and your body posture overall are both interlinked. Sleep the wrong way at night, or with improper back support, and you may develop back or neck pains.

These will eventually lead to restricted movement during the day, and the pain might even keep you up at night. 

The more popular and healthy sleeping position is sleeping on your side, while sleeping on your stomach is thought to be unhealthy for people of all ages and genders.

If you have a habit of sleeping on your front, make sure you have the best mattress for stomach sleepers that you can afford. 

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These mattresses are specially made to give you the proper spinal support you need throughout the night. 

Exercise Relieves Stress 

Exercise Relieves Stress 

Everyone knows that working out is the best stress relief we have right now. Physical activity naturally makes our brain release feel-good chemicals.

Those chemicals in turn help our brain relax, lower anxiety and stress levels, and significantly improve our mood. 

Our heads feel less clouded during the day, and we’re more mentally present to make important decisions in life and complete tasks. 

This newfound happy state and the absence of all the stress that usually plagues us during the day help significantly improve our sleep quality. 

Sleep and Endurance Sports

The deep REM phase of our sleep that happens every 90 to 120 minutes is responsible for muscle repair and relaxation. This means that if you’re working out regularly during the day or are an athlete, you need regular uninterrupted and deep sleep during the night. 

The performance of people who participate in endurance sports like running and swimming is harmed more than that of athletes who play sports that require sudden bursts of energy, like weightlifters. 

This is why athletes go to unusual lengths to make sure they get enough sleep, like adhering to a proper sleep schedule, being regular about their bedtime and wake up, not sleeping in, and not taking their phones to bed. 

Fall Asleep Faster 

Moderate to vigorous workouts during the day often help people fall asleep faster and improve their sleep quality. This way, you don’t have to spend hours in bed before you can finally fall asleep. 

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People who work out regularly are able to spend more time sleeping and less time trying to fall asleep. This improves their general mood, concentration, energy levels, and quality of life. 

Daytime Sleepiness 

Daytime Sleepiness 

One of the biggest problems people who suffer from insomnia face is fighting their urge to nap during the day.

Not being able to sleep during the night brings their energy levels to an all-time low during the day, and many succumb to the temptation. 

Having slept in the day, they once again find it impossible to sleep at night and the vicious cycle continues. 

Working out more during the day or engaging in any kind of physical activity helps people eventually develop better stamina and build up their energy levels.

It reduces daytime sleepiness and helps people bring their sleep schedules back on track, all the while improving their quality of sleep as well. 

No More Sleep Medications 

No More Sleep Medications 

Countless people all over the world depend on some kind of sleep medication to fall asleep. Many can’t stop their minds from racing at night, and others just aren’t used to relaxing enough.

But when you’re working out during the day or your job requires you to move around a lot instead of sitting down at a single place, you feel naturally sleepy when night comes. 

This is how more physical activity helps people depend less and less on sleep medication. 

The Importance of Rest Days 

If you’re working out regularly, don’t get too carried away and keep the importance of rest days in mind. Rest days allow your body to heal properly and for your muscles to build themselves back up after physical exertion. 

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Without rest days, you can develop muscle pains and several aches on your body that may keep you up at night. This is how too much physical activity can actually hurt your ability to sleep peacefully at night. 

A delicate balance must be maintained, which is why experts recommend only working out four to five days a week, with breaks in between. 

Daylight Exposure 

When you engage in any kind of physical activity, chances are you’re doing it outside the house, or that you at least leave the house to go to the gym or your workplace.

This means you’re getting exposed to daylight in the mornings, and it gives your body’s internal clock the opportunity to set itself properly. 

Daylight exposure is being more and more emphasized as important for a healthy sleep schedule ever since the pandemic has been keeping us all indoors.

If we spend enough time out in the sun or in well-lit rooms during the day, our circadian rhythms will automatically help us feel more sleepy at night. 

Working out during the day or going on regular runs in the morning can help you get that daily dose of daylight, and help even more in setting your sleep schedule right. 

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