How Exercise and the Release of Endorphins can Help You Sleep

Guest post by Samantha Kent

As a cyclist, you need to do as much as you can to be your best self. That requires you to take care of yourself, which means that you need to sleep well. The good news is you are already doing something that will help you to sleep every time you put your foot to the pedal of your bike - Exercising.

Cyclists in New Zealand Feature on Ride Fit DVDs

Exercise and the endorphins that get released when you work out will do wonders for the quality of sleep that you get. In turn, sleep can help you to be a better cyclist. It does this by helping your muscles to repair themselves and by giving you more. Keep reading to learn more about how this works!

The Benefits of Exercise on Quality of Sleep

Reduce Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Exercise has long been considered part of the treatment plan for sleep apnea along with dieting to allow you to lose weight and reduce the amount of trouble you have with sleep apnea.  However, it has also been found that exercise without diet can help you to reduce those symptoms. Several studies found that even without working toward weight loss, participants found a reduction of symptoms by 32 percent with regular exercise.
 
If you think that you are experiencing sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about scheduling a sleep study. It is not a disorder that you want to mess around with.

Release of Endorphins

One study found that getting 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise was able to help improve their sleep quality that same night. However, by making sure that you get approximately two and a half hours of exercise a week, you could find yourself getting an extra hour and a half of sleep a night in time.

Regular Exercise can have Incredible Health Benefits

However, if you exercise too close to your scheduled bedtime, you could be causing yourself to have delayed sleep. The endorphins that come along with getting your heart pumping can cause you to feel more awake for up to 90 minutes after you finish exercising. Try to schedule your exercise for about 2 hours before bedtime at the latest in order to reap the benefits and honor your schedule.  
 
If you want to find the best way to maximize your sleep quality and exercise, try talking to a physical trainer who can help you find a routine that works well for your lifestyle and your sleep needs.

Rise and Fall of Body Temperature

When you exercise, your body gets a lot warmer, and then you cool down after you’re done. It’s just how it works. However, a rapid decline in temperature is one of the ways that your body prepares for sleep, which is why a warm bath before bed is helpful - you cool down as your body dries off and you fall asleep.
 
In order to maximize this effect, try setting your bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It will have significant effects on the quality of your sleep. You can also add a weighted blanket to your sleep routine to help to change your body temperature while preparing for sleep.

The Author

Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.