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The Physical Activities That Can Help You Sleep Better Tonight

Cycling, running, weightlifting and yoga help foster good sleep habits, while chores and childcare may disrupt sleep.

Physical activity is great for your waistline and your overall health, but perhaps not so great for your sleep, finds a Perelman School of Medicine study.

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The researchers measured the effects of 10 different physical activities on nearly 430,000 adults’ quality and duration of sleep relative to no activity and walking via a survey. The survey respondents were asked what activity they spent the most time doing in the past month and how much sleep they typically got in a 24-hour period. 

Turns out the type of activity you engage in is improtant when it comes to how well you'll sleep that night. Compared to participants who didn’t get any physical activity in the past month, those who engaged in activities such as aerobics and calisthenics, biking, gardening, golf, running, weightlifting, yoga and Pilates experienced low instances of insufficient sleep. The ones that fostered poor sleep habits? Household chores and childcare. (No, this isn't your excuse to skimp on either.)

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“Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf. It was also interesting that people who receive most of their activity from housework and childcare were more likely to experience insufficient sleep – we know that home and work demands are some of the main reasons people lose sleep," said Michael Grandner, PhD, instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn, in a news release.

To stop losing sleep without neglecting your work and household chores, carve out some time afterwards to engage in some exercise you enjoy. Get on the green and play a couple holes, do some yoga before bed, or go for a run after work. You can also try these mental tricks and practices that cured 73 percent of insomniacs. 

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