If you make a habit of taking care of yourself and exercising regularly, you probably find that you not only feel better during the day, but also sleep better at night. No wonder: physical exercise can have excellent beneficial effects on your sleep ! Let's find out together why sport can help you sleep better and how to practice it to optimize your nights.
The main benefits of exercise on sleep
It improves the quality of sleep
Sport can contribute to a healthier and more restful rest . Physical activity increases the time spent in the deep sleep phase, which is the most restorative phase of our nights on a physical level. Deep sleep helps boost immune function, support heart health, and control stress and anxiety.
It increases the amount of sleep
In addition to improving the quality of sleep , exercise can also help you increase the length of your nighttime rest. Physical activity forces you to expend energy and helps you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of the day. Research indicates that exercise - especially regular exercise - can help increase sleep duration, in addition to improving its quality.
It reduces stress and relieves anxiety
A regular sports program can help reduce stress levels. Stress is a common cause of sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep, restless sleep , and insomnia. Sport is a powerful remedy for anxiety and other mood disorders. Just five minutes of exercise triggers anti-anxiety responses in the body, which release chemicals called endorphins, which interact with receptors in the brain and reduce the perception of pain, meaning you feel better. is more likely to feel positive and optimistic. The body also secretes other mood-enhancing chemicals, like serotonin, which continue to circulate through the body hours after training. Furthermore, certain practices that mobilize the body-mind, such as yoga or pilates, can also help calm the nervous system and promote relaxation, by lowering cortisol levels and reducing blood pressure.
But be careful… there are some important parameters to take into account
The official recommendations for adults in terms of regular practice are around 150 minutes per week, that is to say 30 minutes of sport per day, five days per week.
Furthermore, note that conversely, too much exercise can cause sleep problems. Indeed, according to research, one of the first symptoms of overtraining, and overwork in general, is insomnia and difficulty sleeping.
Time of day
When is the best time to exercise if you want to sleep well? Physical exertion, particularly cardio and endurance sports, causes the body to release endorphins. These chemicals can activate the brain and keep some people awake by disrupting their circadian rhythm (or internal clock). This is why sport in the evening is not recommended. On the contrary, it is advisable to practice at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, or even in the morning if possible in order to allow time for the recovery process. This gives endorphins time to be released and the brain time to relax.
Furthermore, physical exercise also increases body temperature. The rise in body temperature signals to the body clock that it is time to wake up. After about 30 to 90 minutes, the core body temperature begins to drop. This reduction helps to facilitate drowsiness.
But despite these biological reactions, some people find that the time of day they practice has no particular influence on their rest . Above all, it’s about knowing your body and adapting your sports routine to its reactions.
The environment in which you practice your physical activity
It seems that it is more beneficial to practice physical activity outdoors and in daylight, to optimize the circadian rhythm, or the internal clock, which manages the body's waking and sleeping phases. Daylight and activity stimulate the secretion of wake-up hormones, while darkness and rest induce the secretion of hormones linked to falling asleep. If you associate your physical activity with the effects of light on your body, you will have a greater chance of improving the quality of your nights. !
Generally speaking, it is important to understand that the relationship between sleep and physical activity is bidirectional and that if sport improves the quality of our nights, restorative sleep also implies better sporting performance since it helps to motivate us to respect our program. exercise and train more regularly. And getting enough sleep can not only give us more energy and strength to maximize our workout, but its effects on relaxation, focus, mood, and attention can also make us more efficient.
- https://www.longdom.org/open-access/effect-of-different-doses-of-exercise-on-sleep-duration-sleep-efficiency-and-sleep-quality-in-sedentary-overweight-men- 2167-7662.1000108.pdf