It’s no secret working out promotes restful sleep. Researchers believe it helps us sleep better by affecting core body temperature, the circadian rhythm, metabolism, and melatonin release. Exercise can also be an effective snoring solution and reduce sleep apnea severity.
You don’t necessarily have to time your workouts to get their sleep-promoting benefits. But some people do find that timing matters where sleep is concerned (Suggested reading: What's the Best Time of Day to Workout for a Good Night's Sleep?).
For the average person, however, as long as you’re getting the recommended minimum of 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week, you’ll soon notice that you’re sleeping better. Below are three examples of exercises for a good night’s sleep you should consider.
1. Aerobic Workout
Also known as cardio, aerobic exercise raises your heart and breathing rates. Running, walking, swimming, and cycling all fall under the aerobic umbrella, while in-home aerobic exercises can include burpees and Zumba.
A study published in a 2011 issue of Sleep Medicine found regular moderate aerobic exercise helps people fall and stay asleep. It was also found to reduce mood disturbances in chronic insomniacs and to be as effective as sleeping pills. If practiced in conjunction with a weight-loss diet, aerobic workout can help with sleep apnea when it’s a result of excess weight.
To play things safe, complete an aerobic workout no later than an hour before bedtime as exercise later in the day may excite your nervous system. Also, light to moderate intensity workouts is least likely to disrupt your sleep.
2. Yoga or Pilates
Yoga is an ancient practice involving breath control, bodily postures, and meditation. Pilates is a system that promotes muscle-strengthening, flexibility, and stability. Both can be classified as stretch exercises with added benefits.
Studies have found these forms of exercise to be more effective than aerobic training in certain groups. That could be because yoga and pilates may be better at promoting a relaxed state of mind than aerobics, especially when practiced alongside meditation.
Besides helping your mind and body rewind, yoga and pilates can strengthen your muscles, improve your posture, and promote healthier habits. These things, in turn, can reduce sleep apnea and snoring symptoms if those are your chief concerns.
3. Strength Training
Also known as resistance training, strength training aims to make your muscles stronger and your body toned. This form of workout usually entails lifting something heavy, either weights or your own body.
A systematic review published over two years ago in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that strength training improves all aspects of sleep and especially sleep quality. It even reduces anxiety and depression. All exercise seems to boost endorphin levels, which could help explain some of these effects. Endorphins are known to relieve stress and pain, which is a prerequisite for restful sleep.
Just like with stretching and aerobic training, strength training too can reduce snoring by toning the muscles around your neck and through weight loss.
Simple lifestyle changes can be enough to help you sleep better. Exercise, as a big part of healthy lifestyle change, can promote sleep by reducing your stress levels and leading to a state that makes you sleepy.
Exercise can also promote weight loss and strengthen your muscles, both of which reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. And if exercise doesn’t prove enough, consider snore solutions like the Good Morning Snore Solution mouthpiece designed to reduce snoring.