When I exercise regularly, I definitely sleep better. How about you? But is there a scientific reason behind this? Some studies suggest that activities like resistance band training have a greater effect on our sleep patterns than can be explained by tiredness alone.
One of my favorite tools for muscle training is using a resistance band or pull up band. They are so easy to travel with and require practically no storage space. Let’s check out how resistance training can help you get higher quality sleep.
Reduced stress factors
Stress is expressed physically in our bodies in a number of ways like muscle tension, high blood pressure, anxiety and more. These factors, make it difficult, if not impossible, to get off to sleep and enjoy a good night’s rest.
Resistance band training, especially when performed later in the evening, can help reduce your overall stress levels and reverse some of these key indicators. You’ll take deeper breaths, your blood pressure drops, your metabolism stabilizes, and your cortisol levels decrease. All of these factors have the effect of promoting drowsiness and contribute to deeper and more relaxed sleep.
Muscle damage and repair
When we exercise, especially when we’re pushing the limits of what our bodies can do, we cause microscopic damage to the individual muscle cells within our body. Don’t worry, this is not a bad thing.
Our body repairs the damage but also strengthens the muscle further to protect against possible future damage. That’s absolutely normal – it’s how we are able to build muscle mass over time.
In order to make these repairs, we need to sleep. There’s strong evidence to suggest that in some cases, sleepiness is directly related to exertion of, and damage to our muscles. The body is demanding that we take “time out” to repair and renew our overworked muscle cells.
Hormones are released into the blood which encourages us to take a long and deep sleep. In this sense, exercise, particularly strenuous exercise, has a direct effect on how ready we are to sleep.
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Relaxation through elevated temperature
Have you ever felt more relaxed after a hot bath or shower? It turns out that much the same effect can be experienced after a workout. Exercising floods our muscles with blood, increasing our overall temperature and also relaxing us.
The higher body temperature persists, even when we stop exercising – at least for a short while. This tricks the body into preparing itself for sleep, triggering the release of sleep hormones and causing us to feel relaxed and tired.
Emotional and mental health
Regular exercise also has a positive effect on our mental well being too. This is one of the key reasons that I exercise. If you’ve ever gone for a long period without working out, maybe due to injury, you’ll probably have noticed feeling a little bit lower in terms of your mood.
Our mental health has a significant effect on our sleep quality. It can be a vicious cycle. Poor sleep leads to a worse mood the next day, which then leads to poor sleep again that night, and so the problem persists.
Activities like resistance training work to boost your body’s natural production of endorphins, which helps you to manage and deal with emotional and mental stress. It also promotes relaxation and ultimately help you to achieve high quality sleep on a regular basis.
Repetition and developing habits
Multiple studies have demonstrated that as little as half an hour of moderate to intense exercise every day can have a significant impact on our sleep quality. You need to maintain both the intensity and frequency of your resistance band workouts to continue the benefit.
Without pushing yourself too hard though, increasing your daily amount of exercise, or add gradually more difficult exercises. This will help you sleep better and better as time goes on.
Wrapping it up
The best approach is to stick to a regular training schedule. Increase the level at which you train gradually. Always listen to your body. If you keep that up over the medium to long term, it will keep you healthy both while you’re awake, and while you sleep.
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Always consult your doctor before attempting any exercise program. This information is not meant to replace the information from your health care providers.