Survey finds exercise improves sleep quality

March 11, 2013

Washington – Exercising at any time of the day may help people sleep better, suggests results of a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.

The annual Sleep in America poll involved 1,000 adults between 23 and 60 years old. Self-described exercisers of any level – light, moderate or vigorous – reported better sleep quality than non-exercisers, even though both groups averaged almost seven hours of sleep a night, according to an NSF press release. Overall, 76-83 percent of exercisers said their sleep quality in the previous two weeks was “very good” or “fairly good,” compared with 56 percent of non-exercisers.

Non-exercisers were more likely to report excessive sleepiness and symptoms of sleep apnea. Also, 14 percent of non-exercisers said they recently had difficulty eating, staying awake while driving, or participating in a social activity, the release states.

NSF noted that the findings contradict the common advice to not exercise before bedtime, and the organization has amended its sleep recommendations to support exercising at any time of the day except for people with chronic insomnia.