For inactive middle-aged men, it appears that vigorous exercise may lessen food cravings and counteract mood impairments resulting from multiple nights of short or fragmented sleep, according to preliminary research in the Journal of Sleep Research (2020; doi:10.1111/jsr.13215). A team of Australian researchers conducted four separate sleep trials with nine inactive middle-aged men. Each trial included three nights of restricted, fragmented, extended or normal sleep, followed by 20 minutes of vigorous cycling on the fourth morning. Food cravings, mood states and wellness were assessed before and after the cycling bout.

Data analysis showed that after restricted or fragmented sleep, the workout reduced sweet-food cravings and improved mood. Vigorous exercise is intense enough to cause sweating and/or heavy breathing.

See also: What Type of Exercise Helps Most With Sleep?