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Sleep Loss? Vigorous Exercise May Reduce Cravings

Short, intense training and the adverse impact of multiple nights of sleep loss.

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Sleep and vigorous exercise

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?

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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