It seems logical: If you exercise at some point during the day, the exertion should help you fall asleep at night. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. According to famed #sleep researcher William Dement, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University, there is evidence that exercise during the day is helpful for the elderly. “In other age groups, however, it doesn’t do much of anything.”
But research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle has shown that other groups also benefit from daytime exercise. “In our study of postmenopausal women, we found that aerobic exercise, such as walking or biking early in the day improved sleep quality,” says Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead author.
The theory is that fatigue caused by prolonged exercise results in a greater need for sleep, as well as the ability to fall asleep more rapidly. “We believe that the reason for this is the bodily need for repair and restitution,” advises Matthew Walker, Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Bottom line — a bit of exercise early in the day can’t hurt.