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It’s official – regular exercise reduces insomnia!

We all know that physical activity is good for us. But one benefit of a good workout that can sometimes be forgotten, especially if you don’t exercise regularly, is that it can lead to a great night’s sleep. And now there’s fresh evidence to support this notion.

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8th May 2024

A long-term study has recently shown that if you work out at least twice a week, the risk of insomnia is significantly reduced. Key findings of this research, published in the journal BMJ Open, include: 

  • Regular exercisers are 42% less likely to find it hard to drift off than those who are more inactive. 
  • They’re also more than a fifth (22%) less likely to experience symptoms of sleeplessness, and 55% more likely to sleep normally and undisturbed (i.e. between six and nine hours a night) than those who don’t work out. 
  • Even those who hadn’t exercised before, but started during the study period, were more likely to sleep normally than those who remained inactive. 


What Happens To Your Sleep When You Stop Exercising

However, anyone who stopped exercising could potentially soon start missing out on some of these benefits. 

The research, from Imperial College London and Iceland’s Reykjavik University, involved studying data from nine European countries. More than 4,000 adults took part. They were asked about what exercise they did at the beginning of the research project, and then again after 10 years – at the same time, people were quizzed on their sleep patterns.

Those who exercised a couple of times a week for at least an hour a week were classed as physically active, and persistently active if they were still working out in the same way a decade later. 

So the study highlights the key part physical activity can play in reducing the risk of sleeplessness; and, remember, this is just one of the benefits of being physically active. 

Separate research has also shown that moderate aerobic exercise increases how much ‘slow wave’ or deep sleep you get, which will give your mind and body the best opportunity to renew itself. Equally, if you go to bed having exercised during the day, you’re likely to be feeling in a better mood, and therefore be better placed to get off to sleep easily. 

Exercise at the right time of day

However, aerobic exercise leads to the release of endorphins, which can generate brain activity that could prevent some from drifting off. At the same time, working out raises the core body temperature, which can signal to the body that it should feel awake. So the timing of exercise can matter – it’s probably a good idea to leave it an hour or two after working out before going to bed. 

Regular Exercise Can Help Get You A Good Night’s Sleep

We all need sufficient sleep to get us through the next day happily, safely and productively, whatever our age. We’ve also all experienced the frustration of a sleepless night. And one way of getting enough exercise to encourage better shut-eye is to use an outdoor gym. (It’s also free.) 

We are outdoor gym equipment specialists supplying fitness equipment to councils, schools, parks, and corporate premises across the UK. Our varied line-up of exercise kit suits all abilities and gives users a full-body workout. 

Get in touch to learn more about how an outdoor gym could ultimately help your residents, pupils or others enjoy a better night’s slumber. 

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