Best Exercise Habits for Sleep
Science shows that consistent fitness impacts your health in a way that enhances sleep. While one particularly hard session might make you tired, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to have long-term impacts on your sleep quality.
There are infinite ways to develop fitness, but let’s break it down in to aerobic, anaerobic, and straight power/strength. Aerobic exercise is typically longer than a few minutes with your heart rate lower than 80%. Anaerobic exercise lasts anywhere between ~10 second and three minutes, depending on your fitness and anaerobic threshold. Pure power and strength occurs in less than six seconds on average.
Being aerobically fit helps you fall asleep faster and lessens waking up during the night, according to research out of the journal Sleep. When ten habitual runners were compared to 10 non-runners, the aerobically fit runners spent significantly more hours in non-REM sleep, even when they took a day off from exercise.
What’s most interesting, though, is that modest afternoon exercise in non-runners was associated with elevated heart rate during sleep. That leaves some interesting implications for overreaching and the effects of acute, novel exercise intensity on that night’s sleep.