Resistance and weightlifting exercise shown to promote better sleep

March 9, 2022
Resistance and weightlifting exercise shown to promote better sleep

Good quality sleep is beneficial to cardiovascular health: preliminary research conducted at Iowa State University on which types of exercise can improve sleep habits found resistance-based exercises, instead of aerobic exercise, work best to improve sleep duration and quality.

The research looked at criteria such as sleep quality, sleep duration, sleep efficiency (how much time one spends sleeping compared to overall time in bed), sleep latency (how long it takes to fall asleep), and sleep disturbances, to see their effect on cardiovascular and overall health.

Over 380 overweight or obese adults were randomly assigned to either an aerobic exercise group, a resistance exercise group, a combined aerobic and resistance exercise group, or a non-exercise group; the three active exercise groups underwent supervised 60-minute exercise sessions three times a week over the course of a year. All the participants were inactive and had elevated blood pressure – 35% were found to have poor quality sleep at the outset of the study, and 42% were not getting the recommended seven hours sleep.

An average 40-minute increase in sleep duration was observed in the resistance exercise group during this period, as well as a decrease in sleep latency by an average of three minutes. These participants performed weight-training workouts targeting every major muscle group. In the aerobic exercise group, which undertook activities such as treadmill running and recumbent bike sessions at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity, the researchers observed an average 23-minute increase in sleep duration per night; while the combined group, which performed 30 minutes of both exercise types, experienced an average 17-minute increase.

“It is increasingly recognised that getting enough sleep, particularly high-quality sleep, is important for health including cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Angelique Brellenthin, assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University. “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.”

“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,” Dr. Brellenthin recommended.

Read: Research finds intense exercise right before bedtime detrimental to sleeping

Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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