A study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity finds that people who exercise regularly sleep significantly better and remain more alert throughout the day.
A sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, across the Nation found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.
“We were using the physical activity guidelines set forth for cardiovascular health, but it appears that those guidelines might have a spillover effect to other areas of health,” said Brad Cardinal, one of the study’s authors and a professor of exercise science at Oregon State University.
The study concedes that exercise recommendations may be a viable alternative to pharmaceuticals for physicians treating patients with sleeping disorders. It also provides evidence that regular physical activity can have a positive impact of an individual’s productivity throughout the day.
Considering age, BMI (Body Mass Index), health status, smoking status and depression, feelings of sleepiness during the day compared to never feeling very sleepy during the day decreased by 65 percent for participants who exercised.
The researchers say that this study provides even more evidence to show that exercise can offer a variety of health benefits.
“Physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep,” Cardinal said. “There are trade-offs. It may be easier when you are tired to skip the workout and go to sleep, but it may be beneficial for your long-term health to make the hard decision and get your exercise.”