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The National Sleep Foundation (Virginia, USA) has published the results of its 2013 “Sleep in America” poll—which show a compelling association between exercise and better sleep. A total of 1,000 surveys comprised of a representative sample stratified by age and area of the country (Northeast, Midwest, West, and South).

Self-described exercisers reported better sleep than self-described non-exercisers, even though they say they sleep the same amount each night (6 hours and 51 minutes, average on weeknights). Vigorous, moderate and light exercisers were significantly more likely to say, “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers (67–56 percent vs. 39 percent). Also, more than three-fourths of exercisers (76–83 percent) say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the past two weeks, compared to slightly more than one-half of non-exercisers (56 percent). Further “vigorous exercisers” were almost twice as likely as non-exercisers to report, “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night during the week. They also are the least likely to report sleep problems. The Task Force urges: “Exercise is beneficial to sleep. It’s time to revise global recommendations for improving sleep and put exercise at the top of our list for healthy sleep habits.”


  1. “2013 Exercise and Sleep: Sleep in America Poll,” National Sleep Foundation, March 4, 2013.]