There’s a compelling association between exercise and better sleep, according to the results of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America poll.
“Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help,” says David Cloud, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation.
Self-described exercisers report better sleep than self-described nonexercisers, even though they say they sleep the same amount each night (6 hours and 51 minutes, average, on weeknights). Vigorous, moderate and light exercisers are more likely to say, “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night on work nights than nonexercisers.
More than three-fourths of exercisers say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the past two weeks, compared with slightly more than half of nonexercisers.
“If you are inactive, adding a 10-minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep,” says Dr. Max Hirshkowitz, poll task force chairman. “Making this small change and gradually working your way up to more intense activities like running or swimming could help you sleep better.”
The 2013 Sleep in America poll surveyed a random sample of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 23 and 60.