J Stern, MD & L Marino
Yet another reason to go the gym: you will sleep better and be more alert during the day if you work out regularly. Exercise reduces stress, helps boost your mood, and strengthens your circadian rhythms, all which help improve your sleep. It has also been proven to help with depression and anxiety, major causes for sleep disruption and helps with weight loss, a major factor in treating sleep apnea. Some recent studies have shown that people who do physical activity for 150 minutes a week show a 65% increase in sleep quality, possibly because exercise stimulates the deepest and most restorative slow-wave sleep period. This will make you feel better and more alert and focused during the day. As a result, you will be more inclined to work out. However, don’t expect to exercise for one or two weeks and suddenly start sleeping better. It can take around sixteen weeks of regular physical activity to have a major impact on your sleep, much as diet and exercise also take time to affect weight loss. I recommend two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, whether going to the gym, taking a class, brisk walking or bicycling. Morning workouts are more effective because exercise can make you feel too energetic right before bed. If your schedule doesn’t permit morning activity try to exercise four to five hours before going to bed and no less than three hours before.
It's a mutually beneficial relationship: regular exercise helps you get better sleep, and better sleep motivates you to exercise.