Exercise and Sleep

There is a misconception that exercise drains energy. Studies with active adults and children clearly show that a person becomes more active in daily life as an exercise program progresses. Exercise helps you sleep better by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol. Exercise calms the mind and readies it for sleep. As many as half of middle-aged and older adults complain of poor sleep. A moderate exercise program, just two times a week, has been shown to cut the time it takes to sleep in half. Although many elderly people complain of early awakening and shortened sleep time, regular exercise can increase the amount of total sleep by one hour. Improved sleep is an extremely important benefit of exercise, especially for older people, because without proper rest for the mind and recuperation of brain chemistry food cravings are worsened, depression is more common, and memory suffers. Experiment if exercise just before bedtime helps you sleep better, as some studies have shown.