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Get active for a good night's sleep

22nd February 2024 • 3 min read

A little exercise goes a long way when it comes to sleep. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it’s what dreams are made of.

Ever noticed how a good workout can make you feel physically refreshed and primed for some quality shut-eye? It's not a coincidence – experts believe there’s a link between how much you exercise and the quality of your sleep. 

Here’s why breaking a sweat today could help you unlock a better sleep tonight.

The perks of exercise 

We all know that staying active comes with a stack of health benefits. It's not just about getting stronger, fitter or shedding a little weight; regular physical activity helps keep your heart in good shape, strengthen your muscles and conserve bone tissue. Plus, it can lower your risk of developing things like diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and some cancers. Talk about a health superhero.

Exercise is also good for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Several studies have found that it improves mild-to-moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Incredibly, new research from the University of South Australia revealed physical activity was “1.5 times more effective than counselling or the leading medications” for managing depression.

To top it all off, something as simple as going for a daily run, swim or walk is a great way to improve your sleep. In one US study, people who clocked up more steps and stayed active during the day reported experiencing better sleep quality than those who were less active.

How exercise improves sleep

It’s no secret – when we exercise, we expend energy. Plus, the natural drop in body temperature that occurs post-workout can sometimes trigger feelings of drowsiness, says Diabetes Australia.

Beyond physically tiring us out, the sleep-inducing effects of exercise are still being explored. However, studies have shown that exercise helps reduce stress, releasing 'feel-good' hormones like endorphins and serotonin. We know stress and anxiety are common barriers to getting a good night’s sleep, so if you’re actively regulating your stress levels during the day, you may find it’s much easier to unwind when bedtime comes around. 

Outdoor exercise can also help regulate your circadian rhythm (your body’s 24-hour internal clock). Exposure to sunlight is a key part of syncing your body clock with the day and night, so you should consider stepping outside the gym every once in a while and make a few outdoor workouts (like yoga in the park or a jog on the beach) part of your exercise routine.

Get active 

If you want to reap the benefits of exercise, it’s important to be consistent. That doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every day – or that you can’t have a rest day. But according to the Department of Health and Aged Care, adults aged 18-64 should be active most days (preferably every day if possible). 

Each week, they recommend engaging in 2.5-5 hours of moderate exercise (such as a brisk walk or swimming) 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous exercise (such as jogging, aerobics or fast cycling), or an equivalent combination of the two. 

Whether you're an early bird hitting the pavement or partial to an afternoon gym session, all exercise will contribute to a good night's sleep. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, it’s about what works best with your daily routine.

Of course, if you’re someone who enjoys an evening workout, try not to leave it too late. Exercise raises your heart rate, body temperature and adrenaline levels, and you’ll probably need some time to cool off and wind down before bed. You may even like to try a few relaxing activities such as yoga, stretching or calming breath exercises after your workout, as this can help you fall and stay asleep.

Whether it’s a run, swim, playing tennis or just taking your furry friend for a walk, every bit of exercise adds up to a good night's sleep. What are you waiting for? Time to get moving!

Making sure you give your body a proper rest after exercise is crucial for healthy recovery, and choosing a mattress with the right level of support can help with this. Get a personalised sleep solution with bedMATCH so that you can enjoy better sleep and wake up ready to take on the day. Explore our product range here.

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