Tossing and turning when you should be snoozing can lead to exhaustion, laziness and lack of motivation—especially when it comes to hitting the gym the next day. But while it may seem counterintuitive, recent studies suggest the more energy you exert during the day, the more energetic you will feel overall. How? Better sleep.
Any fitness or health expert will attest to the countless benefits of daily exercise, from weight control and disease prevention to improved mood and heightened energy. Now results from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America poll give us yet another reason to get moving: convincing evidence suggests even just an extra 10 minute walk each day can lead to a more peaceful, deep slumber.
While all participants in the poll got relatively the same amount of sleep on weeknights, those who engaged in some form of blood-pumping activity daily—whether vigorous, moderate or light—expressed more consistent, restful sleep than those living a sedentary lifestyle. Further, nearly half of the non-exercisers confessed to constant waking up mid-sleep and trouble falling asleep most if not every night.
So what’s the best time of day to exercise? Despite the common misconception that late night workouts are bad for you, results showed no difference in the quality of sleep between the bright and early exercisers and those who preferred to break a sweat closer to bedtime. That means if you start your day off by hitting snooze, you can always strap up your running shoes later in the day. No excuses!
So next time you find yourself dozing off at your desk, just remember: Embracing a healthier, more energetic lifestyle is not something you need to lose sleep over.
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