Study links healthy sleep to regular exercise

Medical experts can't seem to emphasize the importance of regular exercise enough. Clearly, making physical activity part of your daily regimen can do wonders for weight management, but new findings from the National Sleep Foundation indicate that exercise – even when conducted within a few hours before bedtime – can also help you get a proper night's sleep. Other studies have suggested that getting a solid eight hours or thereabouts of sleep a night can help prevent obesity, so it would seem that sleep, exercise and healthy weight are all interconnected.

The NSF interviewed more than 1,000 to bring about its conclusions. Over 50 percent of respondents who described themselves as "moderate" or "vigorous" in regards to their physical activity reported getting a better night's sleep on the days when they worked out. Contrary to the idea that exercising before going to bed can have a negative impact on sleep, USA Today points out that only 3 percent of survey subjects who said they worked out late in the day said it kept them up at night. Meanwhile, about half of the group that said they don't exercise very much said they also have difficulties sleeping through the night. 

"People who sleep better report exercising more, and people who exercise tend to sleep better," Matthew Buman, Ph.D., a member of the NSF task force that conducted the survey, told the Huffington Post. "We know that life is very busy for many people. They're not getting enough sleep and they're also not getting enough exercise."

Speaking to USA Today, Buman's NSF associate Barbara Phillips, M.D., from the University of Kentucky, explained that people should think of the best times to exercise in terms of when they have free time to spare.