Resistance exercise may be superior to aerobic as a way to get better shut-eye.
Joining an energetic exercise class or calming yoga session during the day can often lead to a good night's sleep.
But according to new research from Iowa State University, resistance exercises – such as leg presses and curls, shoulder presses, torso rotations, and ab crunches – are actually the way to go if you are looking to get improved shut-eye.
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"While both aerobic and resistance exercise are important for overall health, our results suggest that resistance exercises may be superior when it comes to getting better ZZZs at night," said study author Dr Angelique Brellenthin. "Resistance exercise significantly improved sleep duration and sleep efficiency, which are critical indicators of sleep quality that reflects how well a person falls asleep and stays asleep throughout the night. Therefore, if your sleep has gotten noticeably worse over the past two stressful years, consider incorporating two or more resistance exercise training sessions into your regular exercise routine to improve your general muscle and bone health, as well as your sleep."
For the study, the researchers analysed data relating to over 380 adults who were randomly assigned to a no-exercise or aerobic only, resistance only, or combined aerobic and resistance groups for 12 months.
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Everyone in the exercise groups participated in supervised 60-minute sessions, three times a week, with the combination exercise group doing 30 minutes of aerobic and 30 minutes of resistance exercise.
They found that sleep efficiency increased in the resistance exercise and combined exercise groups, but not in the aerobic exercise or no exercise group.
Full study results were presented at the American Association's recent Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference.