Blog

Does lifting weights enhance sleep?

Dr Paul Henning PhD, CSCS, CISSN

Hopefully you have realized by now that sleep is crucial if you want a premium body.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you didn’t care about your physique or don’t put much emphasis on your health & wellness. Does getting enough sleep still matter?

ABSOLUTLEY!!!

In fact, getting enough sleep is crucial for optimal health and to avoid disease!

Short sleep duration actually increases the likelihood of experiencing stroke, myocardial infarctions, congestive heart failure [1], impaired glucose tolerance [2], increased cortisol and elevated blood as well as depression and anxiety [3].

All of these may have long-term negative effects on health and further contribute to the development of disease (e.g. diabetes, obesity, and hypertension).

It’s true that the amount of sleep is important, but the quality of sleep is also very crucial. Without going into the details of sleep cycle, I think it’s important to note that research suggests that deep sleep plays a major role in physiological restoration, especially in relation to cardiovascular and endocrine function [4].

In other words, without deep sleep your body cannot repair the damage you do to it on a daily basis. Hormonal disruption occurs and there you go sliding down that slippery slope to a diseased state.

It’s generally accepted that performing regular aerobic exercise can decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and improve sleep quality. However, did you know that resistance training may have an even more potent effect on the quality of your sleep?

That’s right, the added benefits of performing resistance exercise make this mode of exercise an even higher priority for certain populations (i.e. college students).

Recently, a group of researchers examined the acute effects of timing of resistance exercise on sleep architecture in healthy college students while simultaneously determining the effects on nocturnal blood pressure [5].

Here is what they found:

  • The timing of resistance exercise didn’t negatively affect the average night time blood pressure or deep sleep.
  • Performing resistance exercise at any time of the day enhances the ability to stay asleep as compared with not lifting weights.
  • Performing resistance exercise also increased the ability to stay asleep.

This research paves the way for the use of resistance training as a nonpharmacological means of enhancing sleep quality in people that may suffer from disturbed sleep.

It’s important to also note that limitations may prevent people from undertaking aerobic exercise, however resistance exercise can be done by anyone if performed correctly.

It’s very clear from research that there a numerous benefits of resistance exercise! Well, let’s add enhanced sleep quality to the list!

From this research, people can limit the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression, simply by incorporating resistance training into their week.

References:

1. Aggarwal S, Loomba RS, Arora RR, Molnar J. Associations between sleep duration and prevalence of cardiovascular events. Clin Cardiol. 2013;36(11):671-676.

2. Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet. 1999;354(9188):1435-1439.

3. Chapman DP, Presley-Cantrell LR, Liu Y, Perry GS, Wheaton AG, Croft JB. Frequent insufficient sleep and anxiety and depressive disorders among U.S. community dwellers in 20 states, 2010. Psychiatr Serv. 2013;64(4):385-387.

4. Dijk DJ. Regulation and functional correlates of slow wave sleep. J Clin Sleep Med. 2009;5(2 Suppl):S6-15.

5. Alley JR, Mazzochi JW, Smith CJ, Morris DM, Collier SR. Effects of resistance exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29(5):1378-1385.

Inspiration Performance Mindset

Back To Blog