National Fitness and Sports Month: Get Moving If You Want to Sleep Better

We all know it- exercising on a regular basis is good for your body and extremely beneficial for your overall health. But, did you know it could also be the key to a better night’s rest? The reasons go beyond the physical exhaustion you may experience from jogging around the block.

There is a debate in the medical field of what kind of exercise is best and at what time of day, but like many things, what’s best is a personal, a case-by-case application.  Do what is best for you and what will not overexert yourself.  A good rule of thumb is to maintain at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise.  And the good news?  You’ll likely see the benefit immediately.  According to an article published for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., Medical Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital claimed, “It’s generally not going to take months or years to see a benefit…And patients don’t need to feel like they have to train for the Boston Marathon to become a better sleeper.” 

Researchers are still figuring out how exactly exercise helps encourage quality sleep, but the National Sleep Foundation offered some possible reasons, “Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, there are many possibilities for how exercise may reduce insomnia severity. One way may be by the body-heating effects of exercise, especially when performed in the afternoon or later. Exercise triggers an increase in body temperature, and the post-exercise drop in temperature may promote falling asleep. Exercise may also reduce insomnia by decreasing arousal, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.”

Many are familiar with the famous line in Legally Blonde, when Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods, defends her client by stating, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”  Simply put, the endorphins generated by exercise can help our mental health and ease anxieties which can be a contributing factor to insomnia.

So, get out there and exert yourself a bit.  Whether you walk around the neighborhood or attend your favorite fitness class, keeping ourselves healthy in every way possible will increase our ability to naturally shut down and get better rest.  Learn more about treating your insomnia by visiting, TMJ Sleep and Therapy Centre of North Texas.