People plagued with insomnia are often advised to exercise during the day but not close to bedtime. The fear has been that vigorous physical activity in the evening might be stimulating and make it harder to fall asleep.
A new study of young Swiss athletes challenges this conventional wisdom. The 52 students averaged 19 years old and played sports two or three times a week. On the study evening, they played for 65 to 90 minutes, ending about an hour and a half before bedtime. During the night they wore a device to capture a sleep EEG.
Those who reported exercising more strenuously fell asleep more quickly, woke up less often during the night and slept better than those who had not put in as much effort. They also reported better moods and less hunger at bedtime.
The People’s Pharmacy is pleased to see this validation of evening exercise, as that is often the most convenient time of day to get to the gym or to meet with friends for a quick game. Now there’s no need to worry that exertion will keep you awake, so have fun!
For more information about overcoming insomnia, we offer our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.