Can exercising help manage insomnia?

Are you tossing and turning at night, desperate for a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone. Insomnia, a relentless beast that steals rest from millions, might be tamed by something as simple as regular exercise. 

 But how does breaking a sweat connect to breaking the cycle of sleepless nights? Is it a cure-all or could it sometimes backfire? Dive into this blog post, where we unravel the intricacies of exercise and sleep, and discover how physical activity might just be the key to unlocking the peaceful slumber you’ve been dreaming of.

Exploring the Effects of Exercise on Sleep Quality

Sleep latency can often be a major issue for those suffering from insomnia. 

Lying awake, waiting for sleep to come, can be a frustrating experience that only exacerbates the problem. 

Exercise can improve sleep by reducing sleep latency – the time it takes to fall asleep – and increasing slow-wave sleep (SWS), the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. SWS is a crucial stage of the sleep cycle during which the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system, ultimately leading to improved exercise performance.

To learn more about the stages of sleep and how it impacts you, check out our comprehensive guide on Better Sleep for Better Health

Expert Insights and Research Findings

According to Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., the medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard Country General Hospital, “We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality”. 

By helping individuals fall asleep faster and increasing the duration of restorative sleep, exercise can significantly alleviate the symptoms of insomnia and poor sleep.

What type of exercise can alleviate insomnia?

There are numerous exercises that help you get better sleep, let’s take a look at the most common ones: 

  1. Yoga: Yoga can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety, which are common causes of insomnia. It’s also beneficial for your overall mental health.
  2. Pilates: Pilates can help improve sleep due to its focus on breathing, balance, and body awareness.
  3. Tai Chi: Mind-Body Exercises like Tai Chi, a form of martial arts can help reduce stress and anxiety, thereby improving sleep.
  4. Strength Training: Regular strength training can help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up less frequently.
  5. Cardio: Cardio or aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or cycling can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. This is usually because they release endorphins which in turn lower your cortisol level, resulting in reduced stress and anxiety, key factors that often contribute to sleep disturbances.

Timing and Intensity of Workouts 

Intense workouts are generally better scheduled earlier in the day to ensure you can sleep at night. While evening exercise doesn’t disrupt sleep quality, rigorous workouts an hour or less before bed may reduce total sleep time. Thus, the intensity of a workout close to bedtime can have a negative effect on sleep than the timing itself. For optimal sleep, consider completing high-intensity workouts earlier or at least a few hours before sleep.

Adjusting Exercise Habits Based on Chronotype

One effective strategy to manage insomnia is adjusting exercise habits based on your chronotype, which is your natural preference for morning or evening activities. 

Morning people may benefit from morning workouts, while evening people may prefer exercising later. Tailoring physical exercise timing to your chronotype can optimize sleep quality and overall health. This is because our circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, influences our sleep-wake cycle and physical performance.

However, grasping all these nuances may appear daunting. To make it easier, here are some clear-cut steps to adhere to:

  • Timing Matters: Avoid exercising too close to bedtime, and consider the best time of day for your workout.
  • Consistency is Key: Regular exercise is more beneficial than sporadic workouts.
  • Listen to Your Body: Choose exercises that you enjoy and preferably look to find out what your chronotype is. 

What is the recommended amount of exercise?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises adults to engage in 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This can be achieved by exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Even a daily workout of just 10 minutes can be beneficial, but longer exercise sessions are linked to improved sleep quality and more hours of sleep.

Key Takeaways

As mentioned, there are various tactics one can utilize to improve their sleep and tackle insomnia. This could involve altering the timing of workouts or selecting specific types of exercises, like cardio, which boost endorphin levels and prime your body for a better night’s sleep.

At PhuketFit, we recommend customized workout plans tailored to your requirements, age, fitness status, and sleep concerns, guaranteeing significant enhancements in sleep quality and overall well-being. Our fitness experts are there to help you devise a plan that is most beneficial for you.

Start your personalized fitness journey and get restful sleep by reaching out to Phuket Fit today. Their dedicated team is prepared to assist you in accomplishing your health and fitness goals amidst a serene tropical environment.

Posted in


Liam G. is not only a Business Results Specialist but also a dedicated advocate for health and fitness. With a career spanning over 15 years, Liam has not only excelled in the world of business but has also demonstrated an unwavering commitment to personal well-being. Throughout his journey as a leader and entrepreneur, Liam has always believed that a strong body and a healthy mind are essential for achieving success in any endeavor. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of PhuketFit, a fitness gym in Phuket, Thailand, where he played a pivotal role in accelerating the development of fitness...