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Want to Sleep Better? Exercise!

By Sara Butler

If you're having trouble sleeping at night, then you've probably tried a few things to help. Warm milk or a bath before bed to relax can be good strategies, but they may not always work. However, there is evidence mounting that one strategy leads to better and easier sleep for those who do it: exercise.

Studies have shown that walking just 2,000 more steps per day can help to make the quality of sleep you get better, helping you to wake up feeling refreshed. Here's what you need to know about the connection between sleep and exercise.

How Sleep and Exercise Are Connected

It's not fully understood why sleep and exercise go together like peas and carrots, but researchers have some theories. They've found in studies that regular exercise helps to increase the deep sleep, or slow wave sleep, that your body uses to rejuvenate and repair. This means less fatigue during the day and more energy too. Plus, starting to get more steps in your day today can help you to sleep better tonight -- it's instantaneous!

Other Benefits of Exercise

Of course, regular exercise can do a lot more than simply help you to sleep better at night. It can also increase your psychological and physical wellness, especially as you get older.

To reap these benefits doesn't require you to train for a marathon, either. Simply working more movement into your day can help you get the outcome you want as far as your health and sleep are concerned. Walking a few more steps at several points during the day can do the trick. Plus, it's natural, free, and doesn't have side effects -- unless you count feeling good and sleeping better a side effect.

Walking more during the day can help to support a healthy body weight, improve your balance, increase cardiovascular function, and improve your brain health, too.

What You Can Do

There are some very easy and low-intensity activities that almost anyone can do to become more active. You can work in more steps by parking your car farther from the door at work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can garden when you get home, clean the house, or even wash your dishes. All of these activities can work to go toward the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise recommended per week. You can break that 150 minutes up any way you like, from 10-minute increments to longer blocks of time -- or less!

If you have questions about exercise or sleep, the chiropractors at The Joint are here to help.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in St. Louis, Mo.

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