Separate from exercise, spending less time sitting may improve sleep quality and health. Those who sit for less than eight hours per day sitting are significantly more likely to say they have “very good” sleep quality than those who sit for eight hours or more (22%-25% compared to 12%-15%). Furthermore, significantly more of those who spend less than 10 hours per day sitting mention excellent health, compared to those who spend 10 hours or more sitting (25-30% compared to 16%).
“This poll is the first to show that simply spending too much time sitting might negatively affect our sleep quality,” says Prof. Marco Tulio de Mello, poll task force member. “In addition to exercise, standing at your desk, getting up for short breaks, and moving around as much as possible are important healthy behaviors to include in our lives.”
Those who report exercising close to bedtime and earlier in the day do not demonstrate a difference in self-reported sleep quality. In fact, for most people exercise at any time seems to be better for sleep than no exercise at all.
This finding contradicts long-standing “sleep hygiene” tips that advise everyone not to exercise close to bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation has amended its sleep recommendations for “normal” sleepers to encourage exercise without any caveat to time of day as long as it’s not at the expense of sleep. (However, people with chronic insomnia should continue to restrict late evening and night exercise, if this is part of their treatment regimen.)
“Exercise is beneficial to sleep. It's time to revise global recommendations for improving sleep and put exercise—any time—at the top of our list for healthy sleep habits,” says Dr. Barbara Phillips, poll task force member.
To improve your sleep, try the following sleep tips: