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In the quest for better sleep, many of us overlook one of the most effective, natural remedies available: regular exercise. The connection between physical activity and improved sleep has been extensively studied, offering compelling evidence that adding exercise to your daily routine can significantly enhance the quality of your rest. Let's delve into the science behind this relationship and uncover how you can leverage exercise to enjoy a more restful night.

The Link Between Physical Activity and Sleep

Research indicates that regular physical activity can have a profound impact on sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that participants who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the standard recommendation by the American Heart Association, reported a 65% improvement in sleep quality. They also felt less sleepy during the day, demonstrating the direct benefits of exercise on nighttime rest.

How Does Exercise Improve Sleep?

1. Regulating Sleep Cycles: Exercise can help regulate your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, promoting healthier sleep patterns. Exposure to natural light during outdoor activities also plays a crucial role in maintaining a natural circadian rhythm.

2. Stress Reduction: Physical activity increases the production of endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, which can help alleviate stress. Since stress is a common cause of sleep disturbances, reducing stress through exercise can lead to better sleep.

3. Deep Sleep Enhancement: Regular exercise is associated with an increase in the amount of time spent in deep sleep, the most restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep aids in boosting immune function, supporting cardiac health, and controlling stress and anxiety.

Optimal Timing for Exercise

Timing can influence the sleep benefits of exercise. Morning exercise can wake up the body and mind, setting a positive tone for the day, and is unlikely to interfere with nighttime sleep. Evening exercise, if too close to bedtime, might energize some individuals, making it harder to fall asleep. It's generally recommended to finish exercising at least 1-2 hours before bedtime to avoid potential sleep disruption.

Tailoring Exercise to Your Sleep Needs

The type of exercise also matters. Aerobic activities like walking, cycling, and swimming have been shown to improve sleep quality. However, the intensity should be tailored to your fitness level and preferences to avoid overexertion, which can be counterproductive. Incorporating relaxing exercises, such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening, can also promote sleep by reducing stress and preparing the body for rest.


Understanding the impact of exercise on sleep is just one piece of the wellness puzzle. At Sonoran Sleep Center, we're committed to guiding you through the complexities of achieving restful sleep. Our expertise in sleep health enables us to support your journey towards better sleep by providing insights into how lifestyle choices, including physical activity, influence sleep quality. Make an appointment at Sonoran Sleep Center today, to explore your solutions for better night’s rest.



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