Episode 6


Try Exercise On For Size


In this episode, I show you that the opposite of exercise and physical activity - is death, and I discuss the benefits to physical activity, ranging from sleep and mood to expanding lifespan. Then I demonstrate how this may help your sleep and WHEN to exercise as well.

The average American adult spends an excessive amount of time inactive - and all that sedentary time carries with it an increased risk for death. The average American gets only 10-12 minutes a day of adequate physical activity (as demonstrated by a modest increase above resting heart rate). 

However, substituting just 30 minutes a day of sedentary time for moderate physical activity dramatically lowers risk of death from cancers and heart disease. Moderate activity also improves mood, lowers stress, and improves pain. 

And there are immediate and sustained benefits to sleep health from exercise, including shorter time to fall asleep, more total sleep, and more high quality sleep in addition to improved daytime function. 

The biggest boost to your sleep from exercise? Increasing the depth of sleep - increasing the amount and power of N3 or slow wave sleep. The better the quality of rest (ie more N3 sleep), the better you feel during the day. Exercise is also one of the major cues that keeps your internal clock running on time. 

Exercise too late in the day (generally within a few hours of your intended sleep time) can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is likely due to a harder time cooling down core body temperature - the longer the delay to cool your temperature, the longer the delay to fall asleep. 

So be active! 30 minutes a day of moderate activity should do the trick (check out this calculator from Mayo Clinic about how to estimate your heart rate goals - Moderate exercise is generally 50-70% of your maximal heart rate). Just try to get it completed earlier in the day - morning to mid afternoon.


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