Sleep and exercise are of course two important components of your well-being. And when they are both prioritized, the benefits you get are incredible. But which kind of exercise is the best for helping your sleep quality?
Scientists in Australia wanted to find out for themselves—here’s what they discovered.
The exercise-sleep link.
Exercise and sleep have what is called a bidirectional connection. As you improve one, the other improves too and vice versa: lower physical activity can harm sleep quality in other words.
Most of the research on exercise until now was focused on aerobic exercises such as jogging. Results have showed routine exercise improves sleep quality and helps with overall well-being. So for their new study, the scientists wanted to research muscle-strengthening exercises to see if such a link existed.
Strength training and sleep.
This new study used data from the 2014 German Health Survey, in which 23,000 responders answered questions about their weight lifting habits and their sleep quality.
Those who practiced strength training had fewer “bad” or “very bad” sleep rankings, compared to those who did not report practicing strength training. According to the researchers, based on these results, “future strategies to increase sleep quality should consider promoting weight training exercise.”
While this study used self-reported numbers, we know that exercise is great for improving your sleep quality. And as psychologist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., says, “Sleep is about recovery. If you have not done anything you to recover from, you won’t sleep very well.”