Exercises You Can Do to Improve Sleep

We know many different aspects of our health benefit from active fitness. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of diseases, strengthen our bones and muscles, help manage our weight, boost our mood, and even improve our sleep. Yes, we can get better shut-eye with as little as ten minutes of moderate exercise daily.

Moderate-to-vigorous exercise can reduce the time it takes for us to fall asleep by reducing stress and anxiety. Decreasing the amount of time tossing and turning in bed improves the quality of our sleep tremendously. Physical activity slightly raises our body temperature so a workout done in the morning gives us an energy boost and helps alleviate daytime sleepiness, improving our bodies’ sleep-wake cycle. 

What are the best exercises that can help us get deep, restorative slumber? Let’s explore three.

Aerobic Exercise

Cardio makes us breathe rapidly and raises our heart rate, improving our blood pressure and reducing our risk of heart disease. Doing moderate cardio exercises regularly improves sleep quality by reducing excessive daytime sleepiness through an energy boost. We don’t have to run a marathon every day. We can do simple coordination exercises or join boxing classes. Even just a brisk walk outdoors can elevate our heart rate and walking at a slower pace releases endorphins, helping us relax and wind down from the day to promote restfulness. 

Strength Training

Combining strength training with cardio exercise works best for our bodies. Building muscle through strength training requires energy, and burning off extra energy helps us relax and get better slumber. We don’t have to be massive bodybuilders or need a lot of equipment to benefit from weight training. Bodyweight strength training and compound movement go a long way. Compound exercises are great because they work multiple muscles at the same time. For example, squatting targets the quadriceps, glutes, and calves. Burning calories, lowering chances of knee and ankle injury, and strengthening tendons, bones, and ligaments around the leg muscles are just some of the many benefits of squats. When bodyweight training gets too easy, we can also invest in a kettlebell or a pair of dumbbells for a more intense burn. They can also be used for both indoor and outdoor training.

Flexibility Training

Flexibility training improves blood flow and relieves muscle tension, helping muscle recovery and sleep quality. Body pain can also hinder a good night’s sleep, and flexibility exercises can help relieve muscle aches and relax the body. Stretching, yoga, and foam rolling can mobilize tight joints and loosen stiff muscles. Tai chi is also a great option for flexibility training and makes a great outdoor fitness activity for us, too.

Exercise is great for our overall fitness—improving sleep quality is just one of its several benefits. Let’s do our best to incorporate even just a short physical activity every day. We can set small daily goals and aim for consistency by finding exercises that are enjoyable for ourselves. 

While having a preference for going solo is fine, we can also recruit an exercise buddy or partner for accountability—to make sure we stick to the routine we set for ourselves. We can also join a group fitness training to get professional guidance and meet new people to share the fitness journey with. Whichever we choose, the important thing is we do our best to reach our goals and enjoy the process.