Sweating for Better Sleep? It Takes More Than One Workout!

Sleeping well and exercising regularly tend to go hand-in-hand. We all know that a good workout can help improve our overall well-being and leave us feeling refreshed and energized, but the connection between exercise and sleep is not an instantaneous one. In fact, it may take several months of consistent exercise to see a significant change in your sleep quality. So, if you’re struggling with insomnia don’t expect a single workout session to help you drift off to dreamland immediately. Instead, be patient and persistent in your exercise routine, understanding that the benefits will come over time.

The Long-Term Relationship Between Exercise and Sleep

Research conducted by Kelly Glazer Baron of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine revealed that it may take up to four months of daily exercise to alleviate insomnia and help you sleep more soundly. This might seem surprising, but there’s a logical explanation behind this long-term connection.

Insomnia is characterized by heightened brain activity, making it difficult for the body and mind to relax and transition into a state of rest. According to Phyllis Zee, another researcher involved in the study, exercise may be a healthier way to address insomnia than medications, which can induce sleep quickly but may not address the underlying issues causing poor sleep.

Over time, regular exercise can help re-establish a more normal level of brain activity that is conducive to restful sleep. However, this process takes time and may not produce noticeable results immediately.

The Sleep-Exercise Cycle

Another finding of the study showed that people tend to exercise less following nights when they don’t sleep well. This makes sense, as not getting enough rest can lead to feelings of exhaustion and make it challenging to muster the energy and motivation for a workout.

But here lies the challenge: When you don’t exercise because you’re tired, you’re doing yourself a disservice in the long run. Regular exercise can help improve sleep, so cutting back on workouts could make it even more difficult to break the cycle of insomnia. Consider the long-term benefits of maintaining an exercise routine, even when you’re struggling with sleep.

Tips for Sticking to an Exercise Routine

Starting and maintaining an exercise routine can be challenging, especially when you’re dealing with sleep issues and fatigue.

  1. Set realistic goals – Begin with mild or moderate exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration as you build strength and endurance.

  2. Choose enjoyable activities – Engage in physical activities that you enjoy, whether it’s group classes, outdoor activities, or solo workouts.

  3. Create a schedule – Plan your workouts around the same time each day to establish a routine and make exercise a habit.

  4. Stay accountable – Enlist a workout buddy or use apps and online resources to track your progress and stay motivated.

  5. Listen to your body – Don’t push yourself too hard or ignore signs of pain or discomfort; instead, modify your exercise as necessary to prevent injury and ensure long-term success.

  6. Be patient – Remember that seeing improvements in your sleep may take some time, but persevere and stay committed to your exercise regimen.

Final Thoughts

The relationship between exercise and sleep is a complex and long-term connection. One workout won’t fix your sleep issues, but a consistent and mindful exercise routine can make a significant difference in your overall sleep quality over time. Stay patient, persistent, and committed in your pursuit of better sleep, and remember that it’s a long-term journey. With time and effort, you’ll not only improve the quality of your sleep but also the quality of your life.