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This Is the Best Workout for Better Sleep, New Study Finds

Doing this one exercise could have you waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

It's happened to all of us: after a night spent tossing and turning, you wake up bleary-eyed, exhausted, and feeling less than ready to tackle the day. In fact, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in three U.S. adults doesn't get enough sleep on a daily basis.

If you're among those struggling to get a good night's rest, adding some extra activity into your daily routine may be able to help. However, not all workouts are created equal when it comes to enjoying more restful sleep, a new study reveals. Read on to discover which workout was deemed most effective for better sleep. And for more easy ways to improve your wellbeing, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Timing is critical when it comes to better sleep.

full workout

A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews compiled data from 15 studies to determine the effects of exercise on sleep.

The study's researchers found that the most important component in terms of working out for better sleep was when the workout was performed. "Overall, our analysis showed that when exercise ended two hours before bedtime, there were sleep benefits, including the promotion of sleep onset and increased sleep duration," explained Emmanuel Frimpong, PhD, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Concordia University Sleep, Cognition and Neuroimaging Lab, in a statement.

RELATED: 7 Diet Changes You Can Make Now to Sleep Better Tonight

Working out too close to bedtime proved detrimental.

young woman sitting up in bed unable to fall asleep
Shutterstock / ae ssp

While exercise may make you feel tired, if you're working out right before bedtime, you may actually find it harder to fall asleep.

"When exercise ended less than two hours before bedtime, sleep was negatively impacted. It took longer for participants to fall asleep and sleep duration decreased," Frimpong explained.

Cycling was the most beneficial workout for sleep.

multiracial group of 20 or 30-something adults on bikes in an indoor cycling class
Shutterstock / vectorfusionart

Though the timing of workouts was critical in terms of subjects' sleep quality, one particular workout stood out from the pack when it came to promoting more restful sleep: cycling.

Researchers found that workouts were specifically associated with improvements in both sleep onset and deep sleep.

High-intensity exercise may reduce REM sleep.

hiit class

While the study's researchers found that high-intensity exercise performed early in the evening was particularly beneficial in terms of sleep onset and duration, it also has its drawbacks.

No matter when the high-intensity exercise was performed, whether hours prior to bedtime or shortly before it, it reduced the quantity of subjects' REM sleep, which is linked to dreaming, mood, and memory consolidation.

For more insight into how to enjoy better rest, check out these 7 Surprising Fall Foods That Will Help You Sleep Better, and for the latest health news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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