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Lift Weights for Better Sleep Quality

Resistance exercise helped people sleep longer and deeper than cardio or combined training.

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Woman waking up with better sleep quality

What kind of routine leads to a better night’s sleep? According to recent research, resistance training may be superior for sleep quality improvement than aerobic exercise or a combined weight/cardio workout. The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference held in March 2022 in Chicago.

Iowa State University researchers in Ames conducted the study with 386 inactive, overweight adults with high blood pressure. Study groups did resistance training, cardiovascular exercise or a combined workout for 60 minutes, three times per week for 1 year.

Data analysis showed that, for participants who were getting fewer than 7 hours per sleep at the beginning of the study, resistance training led to a significant 17-minute increase in sleep duration. Similar participants in the cardio-exercise only, combined exercise and in the control group did not experience any change in sleep duration. The study will be published later and will include all findings on sleep quality.

“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 [sleep] at night,” said study author Angelique Brellenthin, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.

See also: HIIT Back on Sleep Loss Effects

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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