Taking yourself out for a jog, a long walk or even an online workout may have you feeling weary afterward. So, it probably comes as no surprise to hear that these kinds of aerobics exercises can improve sleep, something that has been proven in several pieces of research. More recently, experts have asked whether strength exercises can bring the same benefits. I discuss the latest research here; plus, you can find out more about incorporating muscle-strengthening exercises into your routine.
Louise Baillie S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 @ActiveLouise Ask Louise
11 March 2021
Does strength training improve sleep?
It has been found that any kind of strength training can improve sleep quality. What's more, those who have the poorest sleep quality are likely to see the most benefit from incorporating some more strength training into their routines.
These results are based on a 2020 study where over 23,000 participants were asked to rate their sleep quality, as well as their participation in strength exercises in a regular week.1 These positive findings remained regardless of sex, age and BMI.
Amongst the sample, 58.3% reported no muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) whilst 39.9% rated their sleep levels as 'fair'. The authors concluded that, in the future, even doing a small to moderate amount of muscle-strengthening activity should be considered to enhance sleep amongst those who regularly experience sleep problems.
Strength training improves sleep for many different reasons – it isn't simply because it tires the body out!
Participating in strength training can improve mental health, for example, reducing the likes of stress, depression and anxiety. These kinds of issues can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
It also enhances cardiometabolic rate, which brings improvements to metabolism and insulin sensitivity, and is also linked to good blood pressure.
On top of this, strength training brings about more general benefits to our health, such as better mobility and increased strength. This means we may be able to do more throughout the day, leading to better sleep come night time.
My Self-Care Tip: Exercises that help sleep
What kind of movement do you need to do to help improve your sleep? Find out more in my video!
Muscle strengthening exercises to do at home
There are a whole range of muscle-strengthening exercises to do at home, such as: