It’s no secret: Good sleep is hard to come by. If you’re used to frequent wake-ups or have trouble falling asleep once your head hits the pillow, you’re certainly not alone. For years, research has suggested that getting more exercise in your daily routine may help you catch those Zzzs. But now, scientists have discovered an even more specific way to do it that could yield even more benefits — strength training.
For the recent study, which was published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, used data from the 2014 German Health Update Survey. The survey included over 23,000 people who completed a questionnaire about their sleep quality and exercise habits.
According to the findings, there was a strong correlation between strength training and better sleep. Those who did it were much less likely to report “poor” or “very poor” sleep quality when compared with those who didn’t do any strength training. These findings are interesting because up until now, most of the data we have on exercise and sleep has focused on cardio and aerobic exercise, like walking, for example. According to the study authors, “future health behavior modification strategies to enhance sleep quality at the population-level should consider promoting muscle-strengthening exercise.”
If the thought of strength training frightens you, don’t be alarmed. When you hear the phrase, a picture of a body builder grunting at the gym might come to mind, but it’s actually a lot easier than you think. Strength training, also sometimes called resistance training, involves any exercises which are specifically designed to improve your strength and endurance. It’s often associated with the use of weights, but bodyweight exercises like squats, pushups, planks, and lunges also count.
If you’re ready to get a strength-training routine going but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Strength training isn’t just good for sleep, it’s also one of the best ways to firm and tone all the muscles in your body. This is especially important as we get older, because working those muscles has shown to help prevent age-related muscle and bone loss, and even reduce the risk of fractures!
Check out these super easy resistance workouts from fitness expert Denise Austin to firm up your legs and glutes, chest and arms, and your core and back! A healthier body — and better sleep — are just a few simple moves away.