Mar 14, 2024

How exercise can improve your sleep

Spin class with 2 women


According to a survey by the UKs largest healthcare charity, Nuffield Health, we Brits are only getting an average of 5.91 hours of sleep per night, somewhat below the magical 8 hours that is often recommended. Worryingly, 11% of us manage only 2-4 hours of nightly slumber.

When you consider sleep deprivation has been linked to health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, immunodeficiency, anxiety and depression then anything that can help to enhance our snooze time is at least worth a try.

Thankfully, our award-winning Fitness Expert, Dean Hodgkin, suggests there may be an easy solution. ‘Whilst it’s well-documented that choice of pillow type, bedroom temperature, eating certain foods, sleep meditation and avoiding blue light can all be helpful, there’s now growing research to support the claim that regular exercise can also significantly improve shuteye.’

So, just how does puffing and panting in the daytime make a difference in the nocturnal hours:

  • Exercise stimulates your brain to release endorphins which help to relieve pain and induce pleasure leading to less sleep disturbances.
  • Evening workouts can enhance slow wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, recognised as the most restful phase.
  • Vigorous activity can increase your homeostatic sleep drive, your body’s in-built need to recover, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Exercise can help to support your circadian rhythm, the sleep-wake cycle that if interrupted, could lead to insomnia.
  • The current trend for interval training is a bonus as studies show it can improve your sleep efficiency, which is the ratio of total sleep time to the time spent in bed.

So, the key takeaway message is clear – sound sleep is essential for optimal health and regular exercise is a proven way to boost your sleep quality.

For further advice on recovery, relaxation and particularly starting your exercise journey, our Heart+Soul Fitness Team are here to help you . Contact them via visiting the gym, calling ext 318 or emailing


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