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Better Sleep

Stress releases a hormone called cortisol into the body that can interfere with sleep and cause insomnia. Yoga, which reduces stress, may be beneficial in combating insomnia.

Studies have found correlations between aerobic exercise and the quality and duration of sleep, though the exactly relationship remains unclear. One study, for instance, finds that exercisers get to sleep more quickly than those who don’t, leading to longer periods of sleep. However, another study suggests that the perception of fitness, not the level of fitness itself, is what induces sleep. Regardless, it seems likely that aerobic exercise can be helpful in improving the quality of sleep.Good forms of aerobic exercise include running, dancing, active forms of yoga like Ashtanga, and biking.

While exercise in general improves sleep, exercising three hours or less before bedtime can cause insomnia. Exercise raises body temperature and stimulates the brain, which can postpone sleep. (Cooling off is a trigger than induces sleep, so raising body temperature can prevent sleep.) The optimal time to do aerobic exercise to improve sleep is about four or five hours before bedtime.

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