The Science Behind How Exercise Helps You Sleep Better

Regular exercise over time improves sleep quality and can even aid falling asleep more quickly. Just like other practices such as avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, getting regular exercise during the day is an important part of sleep hygiene. Whitney Sleep specialists discuss how exercise helps you get better sleep. 

We know that regular exercise and restful sleep are imperative to good health. We also know these two things are related, but researchers and scientists are still trying to discover exactly how they’re linked. Regular exercise over time improves sleep quality. It can also aid in falling asleep more quickly. Just like other practices such as avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, getting regular exercise during the day is a part of good sleep hygiene. In fact, some sleep doctors believe it is the daytime activity or habit that is the most impactful in helping you get better sleep. 

Get Better Quality Sleep 

Exercise helps you get better sleep by lengthening the slow wave stage of sleep. Slow wave sleep is the deepest sleep state and might be the most important. During this stage of sleep, the heart rate lowers, there is very little muscle movement, and breathing is shallow. If you wake during this stage of sleep, you’re likely to experience confusion. This deep stage of sleep is important because it’s when your body rebuilds and rejuvenates. This is when HGH, or human growth hormone, is released. This hormone stimulates bone growth, improves immune function, induces fat burning, maintains heart health, and is primarily released during deep low wave sleep. Regular exercise has been shown to help enter and prolong this vital deep sleep phase. 

Reduce Stress that Inhibits Sleep

Increased stress levels are connected to poor sleep. For example, individuals with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) report more awakenings and less effective sleep. Many patients who have trouble falling asleep cite anxious thoughts as a contributor. Exercise and physical activity reduces stress levels by releasing endorphins into the brain. Some sleep doctors and researchers think that because sleep issues may result from low serotonin, exercise is the key. In other words, exercising literally improves mood and decreases depression and anxiety by releasing chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy. Less stress generally means an easier time falling and staying asleep. 

Consult a Sleep Doctor  

There is some debate among experts on the best time of day for exercise that helps you get better sleep. This is likely because patients differ physically and psychologically. Some sleep doctors recommend working out earlier in the day as physical activity can increase your body’s core temperature and send wake signals throughout your body. Other patients report feeling the drive for sleep approximately two hours after exercise. You may need to experiment with the timing of your workout and what kind of activity you do. It’s likely that adding exercise to your routine will improve your sleep. A sleep doctor can work with you to help you understand your specific needs. 

Contact Whitney Sleep 

Getting quality sleep on a regular basis is critical for maintaining good health. Our board-certified specialists and sleep doctors to discuss your current sleep patterns and any difficulty you may be having in attaining or maintaining sleep. We understand the unique needs of our patients with sleep disorders. Our family-run business is dedicated to prioritizing your concerns, answering your questions, and assisting you in improving your sleep, and overall health, through our treatments. Reach out to us now to schedule a sleep study or ask questions about our treatments and services: contact or visit our website at