Exercise and sleep?

In this week’s edition of “find an interesting article”, I googled “new study” and searched through the news headlines to find something that wasn’t about children’s shots or new medicines.  On the second or third page, I found an article in the New York Times posing the question: Does exercise help you sleep better?

I’ve always been under the impression that how well you sleep correlates to how much exercise you get.  I remember growing up that the more I played outside and spent participating in sports, the better I slept at night.  I thought it was because my body was just worn out.  Turns out that this study of 862 Swedish college students shows that it really isn’t the correlation between how much exercise you get and sleep that matters, but rather your perception of how fit you are.  In addition, in other related studies mentioned in the article, it’s related to how much time you give yourself to exercise, and those who participated in the study showed that they slept best on weekends – not only due to having more free time to exercise, but they were without other stressors that come during the week: bosses, deadlines, meetings, travel, appointments, etc. 

I know that this is true for me.  I sleep much better on the weekends, when I can free my mind of the stress of the week and focus on spending time with S and enjoying the weather and our fur babies.  So I pose this question, and feel free to leave a comment with your response: How many of you who workout on a regular basis a) feel really fit and sleep well, b) don’t feel fit and sleep well, c) feel really fit and don’t sleep well, or d) don’t feel fit and don’t sleep well.  And if you don’t sleep well… is it because you’re not fit, due to other high stress factors in your life, or a combination of both?

For me, it’s definitely d.  And, I believe it’s a combination of both not being fit and having other high stress factors in my life: a job that is frustrating, a commute that is at best barely tolerable, the unknown about what this fall will bring job-wise for S and just not having a support system here.  I have to admit though, just working out the little bit I have has taken the stress of not feeling good about myself out of the equation, because even though I don’t have the results I want right now, I know they’re coming in the next couple of months.


  1. I’m more of a feeling okay (not unfit or fit) but still not sleeping very well. :/

  2. Hey Jessica! I just recently came across your blog, and find it rather refreshing. And, somehow, in a hopefully not creepy way, it makes me feel like I’m somehow staying in touch with you and S.

    Anyway, as for your question, I can definitely answer that I’m more of an ‘a)’ answer right now, feeling fit and sleeping well. My body is even on its own schedule now and wakes me up before I really want to get out of bed, and I’m well rested. But, when I fall of the exercise wagon for a while, I tend to go towards being a ‘d)’. And I’m more stressed then, too.

  3. I would say I don’t feel fit and sleep well, but I have a sleeping disorder that causes me to sleep too much. My docs suggest if I exercise a little better, my sleep might even itself out a little better. You’ll have to post how exercising is making your sleep better later on!

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