When people envision their healthiest lifestyle, it’s tempting to concentrate solely on exercise. While it’s good to regularly hit the gym, exercise should be complemented with good quality sleep. Sleep and exercise are two interdependent pieces of the puzzle that works in tandem to keep you at your best. How much you exercise impacts how well you sleep, and how well you sleep affects how much your body can work out. Let’s look at some of the key ways exercise and sleep are related.

Exercise releases endorphins

Activities like aerobics, swimming, and cycling help release endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the ‘happy hormones’ that reduce stress and help you feel fresh. This sensation, also known as a ‘runner’s high’, improves your mood and can potentially help you sleep better as long as you get it earlier in the day as endorphins can keep your mind active longer than you desire.

Most fitness experts recommend working out in the morning, but everyone is different. You might find you fall asleep quickly from the exhaustion after a workout. In that case, go right ahead and exercise in the evening. With Excy, you can even exercise cycle from the couch while watching TV.

Exercise affects body temperature

Studies have shown that regular exercise, no matter the form, raises the core body temperature. After exercising, the body begins to cool down for the next 30 minutes to an hour, ultimately returning to normal body temperature. The process of cooling down creates a feeling of drowsiness. If you hit the sack while your body is happily cooling off, the chances of quickly drifting off to sleep are higher.

This doesn’t mean that you must exercise exactly an hour before you wish to sleep. Regardless of when you worked out during the day, the effect of the falling temperature remains, making you cozy enough to fall asleep quickly whenever you decide to turn the lights off for the night. New studies have also shown that moderate exercise in the evening does not adversely affect sleep, and reactions differ between people.

Workouts reduce sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which breathing stops for brief periods in the night, causing a person to have disrupted sleep. Simple exercises such as jogging and brisk walking have the potential to reduce the ill-effects of sleep apnea.

Exercise cannot alone cure sleep apnea, but if you’re looking to reduce medications and opt for natural steps to deal with this condition, exercise can make a major difference. Studies have shown significant improvement when exercise was combined with conventional medicine to treat patients with sleep apnea.

Sleep boosts the workout    

Now that we know exercise is vital for getting a good night’s rest, let’s look at the other side, how sleep affects exercise. If you intend to get the most out of your workout, getting sufficient sleep is a must. Not sleeping adequately could tire your body and the fatigue could make physical activity more difficult.

Sleep deprivation can cause nervous system imbalances, which consequently make you prone to injuries and muscle pains even during a standard workout. Your endurance can fall significantly even after a single night of poor rest. New studies have found that lack of sleep significantly reduces heart rate and oxygen consumption. In short, if for any reason you were not able to sleep well the night before, do not force yourself to exercise the next morning as it might do more harm than good.

Prioritize sleep

Ideally, it is always recommended to balance exercise and sleep as they benefit each other and work in unison to improve your overall health. However, several factors may affect your day-to-day routine making it difficult at times to strike a healthy balance between your time in bed and your time at the gym. On such days, always prioritize sleep and if needed use a natural sleep aid to help you rest soundly and then wake up feeling ready for a solid workout.

Striking A Balance    

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, sleep and exercise must both by incorporated consciously. Striking the right balance between the two is important, as exercise influences the sleep-wake cycle and sleep affects the quality of the workout. Managing one without the other is not only difficult but can lead to a host of problems like weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. To be at your best, sleep well, wake up refreshed, exercise, feel invigorated, and then sleep peacefully again that night. Make sleep and exercise friends and watch yourself accomplish your health goals.

Guest author Erika Long loves corgis, curry and comedy. Always searching for the next great snuggle, flavor or laugh, she inspires people to live their best life now. When not writing, Erika can be found at her local brewery dominating Harry Potter trivia night.

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